(This is a follow-up to Friday’s list of five people outside journalism that all journalists should read.)
I will forever be in Jim Romenesko‘s debt for a number of reasons.
- First, he’s a great read, reporting as he does every last scrap of news about the journalism biz.
- Second, he’s wicked fast, an example many of our local market reporters could still learn from. If there’s a document that has news, he doesn’t rewrite it — he links to it (or reproduces it whole). The joke is that he’s already published the internal memo before the publisher has finished writing it.
- Third, for about a year in the early 2000s, he was my handy answer to any reporter or editor who asked, with clear disgust at the word, “What’s a blog?” Instead of spending ten minutes explaining the blogger ethos, I’d just start out with, basically, “You’re soaking in it!” by pointing out that the venerable Romenesko “page” or “site,” as it was called, was essentially a very robust and well-done linkblog. From that point, the conversation was much simpler.
But one thing I’ve always wished was that he would open up his stable of industry types that he’d quote or link to. For every Howard Kurtz or David Carr, there are dozens of other industry thinkers, some writing and saying quite interesting things.
That’s not to say that the voices in Mister Romenesko’s Neighborhood haven’t grown in number in recent years. If I were writing this in 2007, I’d be complaining about the absence of Jeff Jarvis, Mark Potts, Alan Mutter and the incomparable Jay Rosen, NYU professor (one day of his @jayrosen_nyu Twitter feed features a week of challenging ideas), all of whom are featured with some regularity now on the premier industry blog.
But, never being satisfied, here are a five writers I wish were exposed more frequently to the newsrooms of America:
1. Morris Digital’s Steve Yelvington has been striving mightily to get newspapers to look over the horizon for years. So it’s no surprise that his recent posts, while acknowledging our current sour turn, often focus on ideas for how to move forward. For instance, he’s been offering a peek behind the curtain as his team moves Morris’s Jacksonville.com from a legacy system to a home-brewed Drupal solution more attuned to the needs of readers. Also, his post from December, Explaining Twitter to journalists, is a great elevator pitch to colleagues for using Twitter as a listening tool: “It’s like a big caffeine party. Everybody’s talking at once. Really fast. But you have magic ears.”
2. Roy Greenslade, the media columnist for the UK Guardian, offers the view from Blighty. He’s prolific, occasionally maddening, and always a good read. I like that he gets me out of my US-centric view of the journalism business. Bonus points for working at a paper that got blogging and other social media while many news organizations here in the US were still refusing to utter the words.
3. Terry Heaton, a former TV producer and current “blogger for hire” at Audience Research & Development, focuses on the emergence of newer, more participative forms of media. In his essay “2009: The Great Beginning,” he uses the example of Kodak’s reinvention in recent years as a beacon of hope for the news business:
Kodak embraced the disruption that was decimating its film business. The company is riding the disruption into the future by never looking back at the “good old days.” It did not come without real pain, however, for reinvention has no respect for those who fight or otherwise refuse the future it offers, nor does it — or can it — concern itself with the unfortunate souls who are, through no fault of their own, caught in its need to save the many at the expense of the few. Note that 60 percent of Kodak’s workforce wasn’t there four years ago.
It’s like that when customers demand something other than what they’ve been getting.
4. Paul Gillin is a double-threat, with two essential blogs. The first, Newspaper Death Watch, is a chronicle, not a celebration, with solid reporting and analysis about the death throes of the old ways, and the shoots of new life that are appearing amid the carnage. His other blog is simply PaulGillin.com, where he reports on the growth of social media. And he writes books. Because writing two high-volume blogs apparently leaves him with entirely too much free time on his hands.
5. As I wrote elsewhere recently, Gina Chen is really no different than the thousands of journalists in newsrooms around the country, trying to make sense of where the news business is heading. Except this: She’s doing something to help her colleagues along. In her Save The Media blog, she’s been presenting a comprehensive course of steps that reporters and editors can take to be sure that their journalism is ready for the post-paper era. Chen isn’t wringing her hands; she’s pointing the way.
So that’s five. The list clearly could be a lot longer. Who did I miss? Who else should more journalists be reading on a daily basis? Add them in the comments.