It has been one year since I started www.themediamanager.com. Time for some reflection on what it has taught and changed in me.
1. Only opinions attract opinion. My blog suffered repeatedly when I wouldn’t/couldn’t/didn’t take a stand. When I evaluated (instead of echoed) positions or research, user comments increased. Still, my overall reticence yielded a poor traffic-to-comment ratio. Learning: You have to add value and that often means staking ground.
2. Consumers crave a greater understanding of the craft, its methods and policies from the corner office, the newsroom floor, and the industry itself. The more I explained intricacies of news management, the more I acquired a community. Learning: Transparency + accessibility = engagement. Engagement = credibility.
3. For every lonely crank there are crowds of the wise and constructive. I spent far too much time attending to sour voices and not enough time cultivating good contributors for the discussions I wanted. Learning: Thick skin is in for 2009.
4. Asking lame questions through the blog --- as in, “What do you think?” --- isn’t useful in the least. If you’re going to be challenged, you have to first challenge someone. Garbage in, garbage out, so garbage ask, garbage answer. Learning: Seeking participation is a contact sport.
5. Giving credit where it’s due is a virtue online because your community feels respected, encouraged and understood. In the link economy, everyone wins when we acknowledge. Learning: There are six billion people on the planet. A few of them are bound to have better ideas than I do. I need to get over that.
I came away with a few warm and fuzzies from 2008. The Web-first newsroom is in full bloom and doesn’t undermine the legacy newsroom --- they perform different roles. Blogging is becoming the new first draft of history and may become a newsroom's backbone one day soon. Twitter helps us find people we never knew about and build audiences that want to know about us. I like that newsrooms appear wedded to continual training, because experience matters. We need a further nudge to understand social media, a new and larger mobile device to read and view electronically, and a firmer grasp on audio in journalism.
My permanent asterisk here: These views are personal. They do not necessarily represent my employer’s. Please don’t attach them --- or attack them --- as indicative of my newsroom’s or owner’s policy or belief.