Monday, January 14, 2008

Teaching web journalism

There's been a lot of discussion recently on lots of j-blogs about how to get journalists to become web savvy. Lots of folks have linked to bits of the discussion, and I considered collecting links but didn't, and now I wish I had because the conversation is getting even more interesting.

But one of the best discussions I've seen was built on a link on Mindy McAdams' Teaching Online Journalism blog, No room for Web newbies? reacting to a post by Paul Conley, who says you can't train someone to be part of a culture. McAdams' reaction:
It’s the kind of post that gets me feeling very conflicted. One part of me is thinking, “No, no, Paul, that’s terrible!” But another part is thinking, “He’s right, he’s absolutely right.”

Yep. I spent a good part of the last 15 years or so trying to explain new databases and media to people who needed to know about them if they were going to become better at this new journalism game. Many of them got it and were enthusiastic about chances to learn. But many felt they were being forced in a direction they didn't want to go. How much training time can you spend on those?

Conley says,
An online journalist isn't a journalist who works online. He's a journalist who lives online. He's part of the Web.
It's a waste of time and money to teach multimedia skills and technology to someone who hasn't already become part of the Web.

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