editor on the verge

Online musings from the newsroom and beyond . . . by Yoni Greenbaum

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Drive your own career via the Internet

January 16th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Who do you share your work with? I can recall working the city desk on the weekend and watching reporters sitting with a stack of newspapers cutting out their stories to send to sources, family and, of course, save for themselves. While I’m sure that this exercise still occurs at newspapers throughout the world, my question is why stop there?

Yes, I understand the desire to prove to your parents that the tens of thousands of dollars they spent on J-School was well worth it or to show your sources that you did indeed quote them correctly, but while your at it why don’t you share your work with everyone else? I think reporters should avail themselves of all online opportunities to highlight their work.

Every time your newspaper publishes a story you wrote on its website or in its printed paper, they’re doing it to help sell newspapers and/or draw people to the website and not to showcase your skill as a reporter or advance your career. Your newspaper is not concerned if your work is noticed, recognized, admired or even emulated. And while I agree that it’s not their job, I would argue that it is yours.

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→ 2 CommentsTags: Audience Development · Beat Development · Branding · Online · Reporting

Walk your beat online

January 15th, 2008 · 3 Comments

So now that you’re publishing a weekly newsletter highlighting your work AND interacting with readers and potential readers AND you now have a double-sided business card that displays all the great ways people can interact with you AND you’ve become the envy of your colleagues and the pride of your editors, what’s left to do?

As frequent readers of editor on the verge know, my Sunday and Monday posts were devoted to the above ideas that I feel can help reporters keep and advance their careers. Why should today’s post be any different?

There was a time (and I know, in some places it still exists) when beat reporters would walk their beat, from the police station and neighborhood watch captain’s home to the local bakery, the diner, the barber shop and beauty salon, etc. This was how a reporter got his/her stories, let their readers know what to expect, and got to know residents. People would say, there is “our reporter”.

Today many reporters rely on faxes, email and cell phone calls to cover their beats. More is accomplished behind the desk then pounding the pavement and too much time is spent behind the wheel — remember, newspaper’s don’t reimburse miles walked, only those driven.

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→ 3 CommentsTags: Beat Development · Best Practices · Innovation · Online

Do people “flip” over your business cards?

January 14th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Continuing the theme I began yesterday, I’m going to focus on another way for you to not only keep, but advance your reporting career. This is one of those ideas that I truly believe newspaper companies should be already doing as a matter of course. But since many are not, I encourage you to do it on your own.

I used a question for the headline of this post because my thought for today involves converting the staid business card into a tool for the modern reporter. Most newspapers still provide business cards to their reporters. They’re typically the traditional fare with the name of the newspaper, mailing address, reporter’s name, title, phone number, email address and maybe web address. But that’s it and sometimes, they feature even less. I still see business cards that don’t include email addresses, forcing reporters to write them on the blank side. And there’s the missed opportunity.

There are many ways, beyond email, snail-mail and the telephone, that readers can now interact with reporters. Many reporters have profiles on sites such as Twitter or Pownce, Digg, Reddit or StumbleUpon not to mention Facebook or MySpace. Each of these sites can provide them with exposure to a new community filled with issues and potential stories. But readers need to be able to find them, they need to know where reporters are and how to reach them. That’s where the blank side of your business card comes in.

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→ 1 CommentTags: Audience Development · Beat Development · Branding · Carnival of Journalism · Innovation · Reporting

Newsletters – your secret to developing sources

January 13th, 2008 · 6 Comments

OK, so enough talking about ways to save the newspaper industry or the local newspaper. How about spending some time on something way more important, like how to save and advance your own reporting career? Well I’ve got an idea that will impress your editors, make your colleagues jealous and even make your job easier.

One of the challenges reporters face in covering any beat, be it municipal or specialty, is developing sources and proving to the people you cover (who increasingly don’t read your newspaper at least not the print version) that you actually DO write about them. An approach that I’ve encouraged my reporters to use is to publish their own email newsletter, call it “[insert reporters name]’s Weekly Update.”

To me a solution a that incorporated a technology that reporters are already using makes the most sense. Additionally, I thought that we needed something that allowed us to leverage the newspaper’s website and that would increase the lines of communication.

The idea is really simple. Most reporters already have a source list that hopefully includes some email addresses. Additionally, here’s a great opportunity to reach out and get the addresses they don’t have. I don’t advise that you blindly harvest emails from the Internet as it will likely violate your paper’s email policy. You should send your Update at the end of the week (the exact day is up to you, but stick to it) and include: [Read more →]

→ 6 CommentsTags: Audience Development · Beat Development · Best Practices · Branding · Innovation · Reporting