Entries from October 2007 ↓

Perpetual multi-tasker

I have a tendency to work on a lot of things at the same time. Most of the time I can keep track of it all. But as I’ve added more and more technology into my workflow, I’ve found I spend more and more time training. My experience isn’t that much different from anyone else who is working in new media. The challenge for me is that I have dozens and dozens of people to train every six months or so because most of my employees are students. It’s challenging to keep up with day to day items when there is so much training!

That’s why I started working with Camtasia. It’s a fantastic screen capture program. There’s an even bigger and better version that recently came out. Either way, it’s been really handy to use it. I can combine my ability to edit on an Avid Newscutter and combine video with the screen captures from Camtasia. In the end, my students have a .swf video they can link to from any computer. When they’re confused, they don’t have to ask me. It has saved me a bunch of time. If only I had more time to do MORE videos.

Since I don’t have a ton of time to do that, I’ve been lucky to work with a great student, Jonathan Coffman. We put together a database structure using Drupal. I have a growing training manual for all of my students and employees. It’s easy to search, it’s easy to read and it’s easy to update. I’ve found I can save a lot of time with the database as well.

I’d love to hear what others are doing to save time, share information and do it with little cost (other than the time it takes to set it all up).

How this all started

Back in January 2004, I had an opportunity. The Missouri School of Journalism and its partnership with Apple had opened up a chance to work with a subgroup from EDUCAUSE. These days it’s called ELI – EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. I had a chance to coordinate the podcast of ELI’s conference. It turns out, it was the first conference that was podcasted in the world. Pretty amazing when you think about that.

Since then, my mind started churning: Think of all the ways a journalist can share information in alternate ways beyond the standard newspaper, magazine, radio and television. Then my mind churned further: Think of all the ways I can use my knowledge as a broadcast news producer to deliver information in a non-traditional way to students on college campuses. The skills I have to maintain interest and share facts are even more useful with the new ways we can deliver information to college students.

That’s when my world rapidly changed.

I started thinking a lot. My mind was churning and I took my ideas back to the Missouri School of Journalism and my newsroom, KOMU-TV. Here’s how it all works. I’m a news manager at KOMU. It’s an NBC affiliate and owned by the University of Missouri. 3/4 of my pay comes from KOMU, 1/4 comes from the Missouri School of Journalism where I am an assistant professor. Those two roles give me access to amazing students and great opportunities to experiment with news delivery.

After I started sharing my ideas with the school and KOMU, I had an opportunity to move from the role as executive producer of all of our newscasts to new media director of our website, komu.com. I was able to work with a team of people to design a site and use a content manager system created through the Avid company. Our newsroom is made of mostly students who are taking classes at the school of journalism. We operated a working newsroom in as a lab experience. They come out of it with professional experience under their belt. My job has been to help take that experience up a notch and guide the students into thinking on multiple levels: Delivering the news in the way the story needs it delivered, not just on the air but also online.

I think it’s stunning how technology allows us to teach, share, inform, collaborate, communicate in such simple and convenient ways. I see these as ways to improve workflow in the classroom, in the newsroom and in life.

I hope to share my thoughts, start conversations and start piecing together what I really can do with all of these ideas that float in my head.

Time to start a brain dump

I’ve been blogging for a long time… But I’ve never blogged for myself. So this is a place where I plan to share my thoughts, my ideas and ways I think journalism and this new media world can move forward. I’ve had many ideas in the last few years. Many of those ideas have been processed through the University of Missouri where I work or at KOMU-TV where I also work. It’s complicated and I’ll explain it later. But since I just hopped onto twitter (after a hiatus), I wanted something on this page. Expect a much nicer, less Word Press-like site.