I have been a terrible blogger, as the redoubtable Wes Pedersen would be the first to tell you. The basic reason for this is I have always done my writing in the mornings. But my lifestyle (enter baby) no longer cooperates the way it used to, so I must refocus my energies to other times of day. Let this be the first entry of the new era…
David Carr’s in Monday’s New York Times struck a nerve, celebrating a whole new approach to reporting that is finding its way into newsrooms everywhere, citing a colleague’s recent story: “On Saturday, Mr. Stelter’s wonderful article in The New York Times on how people were working around the blackout on the Olympic ceremony began as a post on Twitter seeking consumer experiences, then jumped onto his blog, TV Decoder, caught the attention of editors who wanted it expanded for the newspaper and ended up on Page One, jammed with insight and with plenty of examples from real human experience.”
PRWeek’s own excellent reporting team is using Twitter, and blogs, contact management systems and social media, and myriad other methods to explore topics with the public relations community and beyond. No doubt these tools have enabled already great journalists to find even better ways to work. Thus did word processing replace the typewriter, only a true Luddite could object to the progress that continues to be made.
But reporters risk becoming their efforts becoming commoditized even further than they already have been if they avow that these tools are changing the fundamentals of journalism. In fact, part of the challenge for journalism ongoing will be to tune out the clamor and find the hidden stories, the unwilling sources, the unpopular topics - the “boring but important” stories, to use The Week’s wonderful section name - that no one but the most dedicated reporter will commit to seeking out.