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An exploratory journey on the edge of newspaper evolution

Lost at sea? April 18, 2008

Filed under: innovation,journalism,newspapers,Uncategorized — contentninja @ 4:54 pm
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Brookgreen Gardens in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, United States.Image via Wikipedia

Here’s another one to watch.

Lisa Williams is founder of Placeblogger, a 2007 winner of the Knight 21st Century News Challenge, and of H20town. Williams is one smart cookie and a no-nonsense voice in the cacophony of voices surrounding social media, new media and the evolution of journalism. (Yes, I freely admit that I’m adding to the din.) She blogs at the MediaShift Idea Lab.

In “Journalism will Survive the Death of its Institutions,” she makes a solid comparison between what’s happening to the news industry and the volatility of the high-tech world. Difference is, she argues, that high-tech employees are kind of used to it.

She concludes that the savviest among us journalists will make it by branching out in “kayaks” as “Titanic” companies go down:

“You’ll discover what thousands upon thousands of tech workers discovered: you can do great work outside of an institutional, big-company context, and you can make a living doing so. High tech companies didn’t own innovation; the innovators did. News organizations don’t own journalism: journalists do.”

What’s the lesson for employees at a family-owned, independent company like Gazette Communications, which is fighting hard to avoid sinking? That innovation can start with you, the individual employee. That individual journalists can build communities around their beats and add value to our content.

And in “10 Things Journalists Should Know About Surviving in a High-Tech World,” her basic premise is that jobs are temporary, so build your skills. My favorite tip, however, is No. 6: “Breaking things is a privilege. Progress is about alternating breaking and fixing. Anything 100% working is 100% dead.”

Our industry definitely has some things that need fixing. Let’s make progress.

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