Archive for September, 2012
29 Sep

Ode to the printing press operator (and many others)

This thought just occurred to me… so let’s see if I can express it here.

Our industry has experienced many, MANY changes. Obviously.

But one the things I think we tend to forget are the people outside of the newsroom and even the business side.

When was the last time you thought about the printing press operator? The one actually printing the beautiful broadsheet that millions still read. (Yes, millions.)

The people who know how to make the presses sing, carefully printing news and information efficiently… and under their own deadlines.

Those that love — or deal with — the loud roaring sound of the presses.

Those ones that truly get their hands dirty with newsprint.

The real ones who can actually “stop the presses.”

You know, they could be working somewhere else. They, too, know they could get another job where their industry isn’t “dying.”

But they choose to work the presses.


I bet they feel the same amount of pride working their craft as you feel in yours.

I bet they value their role — albeit one often forgotten, evolving but yet still vital — in helping inform their community.

I bet they are as proud to work for the masthead as the journalists across town.

I bet their chests get broader when they see a powerful headline that will help their community as it blurs fast through the presses… I imagine that they try to print it even faster to get the information to the community quicker. (But without compromising quality.)

They feel the same pain and have the same worries when they see the revenue challenges and face layoffs.

Let’s take this out of print and look toward audio engineers. Or how about those that run the backend equipment that makes the nightly newscast viewable via satellite.

Let’s look at the computers — granted old ones, typically stuck with IE — and the people behind making these crappy things last a little longer to help keep the budget lean.

The IT people that take pride in their work, knowing that they are facilitating the production of journalism. They can probably make more money elsewhere, but stay here because they want to help inform their community too.

How about the Web developer? Coder? Programmer?

They can make a ton of money elsewhere.

So can you… P.R. is right there. All companies are now media companies and they need help telling their own stories.

These are great, honorable jobs. But you, like the others, stay.

Look, we are all “suckers.”

Suckers because we believe in journalism, in informing our community, in doing the best we can with the resources we’ve got… on deadline. And we do it all while working long hours and being underpaid.

But we can’t imagine doing anything else.

These are all different crafts. All to be respected. All to be valued.

Just a thought.

// State of Play
The closing credits of the journalism thriller, State of Play, is all about the printing of the paper. It’s a great homeage to the process. I captured the final frames because I loved their CMYK moment that passes in a blink of an eye. Here it is slowed down,

Categories: Journalism, Personal Tags:
28 Sep

Nieman Lab piece on rebooting J-schools: Take control of your education

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I was invited by Nieman Lab to write a piece on rebooting J-schools. My take was bypassing the “debate” and empowering the students directly. Tell me what you think: Robert Hernandez: Reboot journalism school? Take control of your education instead

If and when I have time, I hope to Storify the reactions and add it to this post.

My favorite, though, came from Justin Ellis, who was the person that invited me to write the piece:

So we’re all “reboot the J-school” and then @ is like “Forget that noise. Google it.”
Justin Ellis

15 Sep

Google it

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Categories: Journalism Tags: ,
10 Sep

Why I’m running for the ONA Board again

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ONA logo
There’s more work to be done.

A lot more.

Simply put, that’s why I am running for re-election to stay on the Online News Association‘s Board of Directors.

As I said when I first ran, I believe ONA needs to be the center organization leading and guiding our industry forward. That goal and need is as strong as ever.

A core part of my work — from teaching/training to #wjchat to Learn Code for Journalism to Tech & Tools to Horizontal Loyalty — is in sync with the organization’s mission: empower journalists to move our industry forward.

I’m proud of the work we have done in the last two years with the board. The organization has added more training, offered more scholarships, expanded its programs and has taken important steps to solidify itself as an essential part shaping the future of journalism.

But please don’t think it’s easy.

It takes a lot of work and I am fortunate to work along side with incredibly smart and passionate board members and staffers that give it their all. You have no idea. (If you see them at ONA12, please thank them for their work. Hell, buy them a drink!)

I feel that I contribute to the organization. I bring diversity — culture, age, ethnicity, location and experience — to the group. I bring my Web/tech background and experience to the organization. And I… how do I put this? I’m that guy … that one who asks tough questions to keep us honest and hold us accountable. Some of you saw that with the Patch thing. It was not a fluke. Ask my peers, they see it in our board meetings.

We face other challenges too.

As an organization, we need to find scalable ways that tap into the diversity of our members’ skills/experiences to share them and help them grow.

Web journalism is a broad term. Because we are inclusive, it’s an incredible strength for ONA. But if we don’t take advantage of it correctly, we look unfocused and diluted.

I think ONA needs to be the place that brings the diversity of Web journalism together to grow stronger together… and I’d like to continue to be at the table to make this happen.

Please help shape the future of this organization and journalism by voting.

And, if you think me worthy, please consider voting for me. I’d truly appreciate it.

Thank you,

Read my bio here

08 Sep

My work featured in CJR – twice!

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Columbia Journalism Review logoI’m really proud to share that two of my projects were featured in the Columbia Journalism Review – in both print and online.

While you can read the article online, I strongly recommend you check out the latest issue of the print magazine, which focuses on The Future of Media (this minute, at least).

In it you’ll find a two-page spread about my Tech & Tools project, where a Mad Men version of myself showcases some of my favorite apps. Below is a screenshot of an early proof, but go get the magazine!

Coincidentally, a few days later, CJR also decided to write a piece for its site exploring Twitter chats: Building a community 140 characters at a time.

While others are mentioned, #wjchat was prominently featured. For those that may not know, Twitter chats are virtual meetups held around a hashtag to discuss a topic. #wjchat is on Web Journalism and is a chat I created with four others in February 2012.

It’s crazy to think that this weekly miracle has been happening for two-and-a-half years!

06 Sep

UPDATE: Hartford Courant scraps Google Translate site

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Richard Prince‘s Journal-isms reports that Hartford Courant has killed it’s embarrassing Google Translate site. If you recall, I wrote about the horrible site last month.

Instead the Courant has developed Noticias, “a 100-percent Spanish language news site produced by our newsroom,” said Gary Weitman, spokesman for the parent Tribune Co.

Glad they came to their sense. And I sincerely wish them luck in their new venture.

01 Sep

Video: Horizontal Loyalty Ignite talk at Spark Camp

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For those interested, here is video of my Ignite talk on Horizontal Loyalty. You can see my slides here.