Tim Gleason: Journalism crisis can inspire creative thinking

Time for some short-takes of interesting stuff about the transformation of journalism from around the blogosphere:

Golden Age: A guest post by Tim Gleason, dean of  the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, on Oregonlive.com is getting quite a buzz around the Twitterverse. He argues that journalism isn’t dead, though the business model is in “serious trouble.” He’s realistic, noting there’s no easy fix to this problem, and that’s a crisis for journalism — and democracy. But all and all his message is a call to action, and I like that. We can’t undo the past or change the present. We can try to fix the future. And sometimes it takes a crisis to do that. He states:

“We’re in the middle of an unprecedented period of experimenting with new forms of doing and presenting journalism. There’s nothing like a good crisis to focus attention and generate creative thinking.”

Be sure to read his whole piece. It will inspire.

Teaching online journalism:Mindy McAdams has a great list of what journalism students need to learn in this transformative time in the business.  What I like best about her list is the main premise: Teaching online journalism isn’t enough; online should be integrated into every class. Someday (soon, I hope) we won’t even call it online journalism. We’ll just call it journalism.

Buried news:  Adam Sherk, a search/PR Strategist for Define Search Strategies, which is part of The New York Times Company, has a provocative post about mainstream news sites and Digg. He did some searching and found that CNN was the most buried news site on Digg, with Yahoo News coming second. Sherk doesn’t speculate on why this is the case. I don’t know either. But I think it’s important for journalists to be aware of this as Digg and other social media sites become part of the normal use of the mainstream press.

Twitter for journalists:  A post by Ann Handley, editor in chief of MarketingProfs, on Mashable offers some reasoned tips for how journalists can use Twitter. Much of what makes a good tweet, makes a good lead or headline as well. She urges journalists to keep tweets short and simple and make every word count. Seems obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I read a tweet that “buries the lead” or sounds bureaucratic and boring, when the story it links to is fascinating. Some of this comes from news organizations using the dreaded twitter feed mechanism, which makes it tough to personalize a tweet or add appropriate hashtags. Some is just laziness.

One tip I’d add to her list: Think search-engine optimization in your tweets. People do search by keyword on Twitter, and tweets can come up in a Google search. For example, type out Henry Louis Gates in a tweet that links to coverage of the Harvard professor’s recent arrest, rather than Gates. People will search for his whole name, because to just search for Gates, would likely bring up a more famous guy with that surname. (If you’re new to Twitter, be sure to read my list of tips.)


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5 thoughts on “Tim Gleason: Journalism crisis can inspire creative thinking

  1. I think Gleason means well, and I don’t want to dampen his enthusiasm. I know students need this encouragement too. I’m afraid to admit I roughed him up a bit today on my blog, but this call to arms is not a new one. Maybe I’m just grouchy today, but I’ve been hearing these appeals for quite a while.

    Yes, if “only” we could find a way to pay for this. I wish he would have offered up something a bit more concrete than he did.

  2. Journalists should be familiar with ideas like “click through rates” and “conversion rates” too. If you headline is crummy and no one clicks, you are prone to having your good story ignored. And, if the web site is poorly designed, you might get lots of traffic but no one who is able to find the “subscribe to the newsletter” button that you really want them to do so you have them coming back again.

  3. Good addition, Gina. Very true. And I agree- I read tweets all the time that “bury the lead.” You’d think that would be impossible.. but surprisingly, it’s not!

    Thanks for the shout.


  4. @Wendy Parker

    You’re right — all the rallying in the world won’t save newspapers unless a new business model is found. We do need both — a positive outlook and great ideas.


    Really good point about click-through rates … problem is some newspapers won’t even let their staffers know their blog stats let alone their click-through rates. This hurts in the long run (and short) because the staffers don’t get a sense of what’s working and what’s not. This information (click-through rates, stats, etc.) cannot be info. that only the higher ups know.



    – Gina

  5. Pingback: GrowthSpurs aims to help hyperlocal efforts | Save the Media

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