Jason DeRusha: Lessons in New Media

Media Training, Seminars, Advice

Posts Tagged ‘New Media’

How To Reward Newsroom “2.0” Staffers

Posted by derushaj on April 11, 2008

We all know no one has any money.  And the people who would do this best will do it without money.  So how do you reward them?   

  • Don’t mock their efforts: It’s easy to take pot shots or make little sarcastic remarks, a la, “You gonna put that in your blog?”  That’s not helpful, and it makes it harder to foster an environment where experimentation and innovation thrive.
  • PRAISE Them: Read the blogs or videoblogs and send notes praising things that are good.  In a newsroom, staffers rarely get notes of praise.  It’s the only currency anyone is able to use these days.
  • Consider On-Air Promotion: This is a huge way of rewarding the people who do this for you.  How many stations have a promo singling out bloggers?  I can’t think of any.  But how meaningful would that be to the assignment editor running your baseball blog, or your health reporter with the medical blog?
  • Give Them Leadership Opportunities: Consider inviting local bloggers into your building for a forum on media.  Instead of having your anchor lead it, have your blogger/videoblogger lead the effort.
  • Don’t be afraid to offer constructive critisicm: Some things are not going to work.  Some people will go too far in experimenting.  Don’t call the person on the carpet.  Instead, invite them to discuss it, share thoughts, and try to improve things for the future. 
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How To Find Newsroom “2.0” Staffers

Posted by derushaj on April 11, 2008

Ask them: You probably can identify the staffers you have who would write an interesting blog, or prepare an interesting videoblog.  So invite them to do it.

  • Anchors Don’t Necessarily Make Good Bloggers: Just because the person is the TV face of your station, doesn’t mean they should be the online face of your station.
  • Look For People With A Voice: You need someone with a sense of humor, or a skill at biting analysis.
  • Specialists Are Ideal: Political reporters, sports reporters, weather people, or staffers with developed hobbies (the skiier, the singer, the gardner).  Look for a niche and fill it.
  • Less Is More: Resist the temptation to mandate that everyone carve out a web presence.  One great blog/videoblog is better than 7 crappy ones.
  • Take Advantage of Ego:  I started blogging here because I saw a morning weather guy with an “I’m gonna be a daddy” blog, and thought I could do a better job.  I asked if I could have a blog, and there it was.  I started a videoblog when I thought of things to do in the field covering stories that would be funny or interesting.  I asked, and I was given the leash.  If you have a staff member who’s asking to do more, generally, it’s a good idea to let them do more.

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Twitter For Journalists

Posted by derushaj on January 1, 2008

Last week I was doing a story on how Christmas trees can cause serious allergy problems. Senior 10 p.m. producer Scott Howard noticed this story on WebMD talking about the huge amount of mold spores released to the air when we bring a dead tree inside.

I lined up an allergist (that was easy) and then went to a Christmas tree lot (also easy). To put this in baseball terms: my effort was solid single. I needed someone who was sniffing and sneezing and didn’t know that their real Christmas tree might be to blame. My photographer, Chris Cruz, was just the person. He had symptoms of an allergy which started when he brought his tree into his home.

But I didn’t really want to interview my co-worker.

Enter Twitter.com. Twitter is hard to describe. On it’s homepage: “Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate…through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?” Most people use Twitter in conjunction with a text messaging plan, and follow a series of friends. I have an account here.

Last week, I sent out this message on my twitter page, alerting the 80 people who follow me that I was looking for someone with a Christmas tree allergy.

Shortly thereafter, I got a direct message from Connie telling me “I am allergic to some Christmas trees! don’t know if I would say I “go nuts,” but I do break out in a rash if I touch them without gloves.”

Bingo. We were at Connie’s house within an hour, and I found the perfect interview for my story. Connie showed us her gloves, showed us her real tree, and was the perfect person to help tell our story. After the interview, I sent this alert out telling my friends about Ranty’s great soundbite.

If you want to follow me on Twitter, you have to join (it’s free). Julio Ojeda-Zapata, the tech columnist for the Pioneer Press (and and prolific tech blogger), just wrote an article about Twitter’s use for journalists.

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