Journalists, take chances! I’m not saying try base jumping or alligator wrestling. All I’m suggesting is — try something new online.
I’m truly surprised by the number of journalists who don’t use or even try sites like Twitter or Pownce, Facebook or Myspace, Mixx or Digg, del.icio.us or Mister Wong, the list; can go on and on. When I’ve suggested some of these sites, I’ve had reporters and editors say to me that they don’t have the time to “spend it online.”
I think that many journalists don’t comprehend that these sites can have a positive impact on their careers, from allowing them to communicate with current or potential readers to helping with organization and productivity. In addition, trying out these sites or participating in other online communities will keep them exposed to a world full of story ideas that they won’t see from their newsroom desk. It will even help build online audience. If nothing else, it is a way for journalists to brand themselves online.
The problem, I’ve observed, is that all too often journalists are reluctant to try new things. While they might complain about it, they’re more apt to agree to cover a town council meeting than the Meals On Wheels delivery program. In addition, there are still many journalists who pride themselves with being technophobic, who think that it’s a good thing that they don’t own a TV and only listen to NPR. Editors, listen-up; this is NOT a good thing.
There are exceptions in newsrooms throughout the country. And recently, I’ve even come across Chris Hansen, that’s right, the To Catch a Predator guy, and New York Times contributor, Jason Pontin posting on Pownce.
I can see no good reason why most editors and reporters are not using Twitter or Pownce, are not Digging or posting their stories to Mixx and don’t have profiles on Facebook or Myspace, just to name a few possibilities.
So take a chance and try out one, or all of these sites. And if anyone wants to start with Pownce, I have about two dozen invites that I would be willing to share — just drop me a note.
If you do try any of the sites, please feel free to look me up: