A couple of weeks ago I met Travis Smith and Jamie Stephens for a cup of coffee and a conversation. It was a lot of fun. We sat down to talk about social media and the various tools we can use to communicate to our audience – be it a news audience or a customer audience. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is being “real” in a social space.
If you’re interested in listening to the conversation, check it out here.
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.