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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Don't hog the online toys

Anecdotally, I have been hearing more about reporters putting up their hands to go over to the digital desk, which is heartening, and not a bit surprising given the doom hanging over the future of print and the fact that online is so much fun.

Also starting to see more posts along the lines of this one from Melissa Worden, in which she notes the online desk can get a bit cliquey in some newsrooms and hard for others to break into.

It's a good point for newsroom change agents to be aware of: make sure that once you've explained how great online is, and given people a taste of it, that they can actually do some of it when they walk out of the training room and go back on the floor.

I like Melissa's point about sharing the toys. She's absolutely right. Ultimately, we want to get useful kit into as many people's hands at possible. Yes, some people will be better at some things than others - maybe audio, maybe visuals, maybe graphics, maybe Flash. That's all good. If you don't give people a chance, you'll never realise the talent you're sitting on.

While you're at it, why not give everyone a point and shoot video/camera/writing tool like an N95 or JasJam or HTC Tytn and show them how to upload, tag, assign categories, write abstracts etc. Give them a bit of time once a week to play and work on stories that need a bit of technical stretching. Make sure they know how to use the CMS and the appropriate workflow - who signs off on what. Then sit back and watch morning news conferences get more interesting.