I’ve been out of town since last Thursday. I spent the first few days in Indianapolis, attending the Ted Scripps Leadership Institute. It’s a boot camp organized by the Society of Professional Journalists to equip participants with the leadership and interpersonal skills they need to run local chapters of the organizations as well as spur potential candidates for national leadership.
It was an amazing training. I felt for the first time in a little while that all is not gloom and doom. In general, I try not to succumb to such things, but lately I couldn’t help but feel depressed about things. I think I was overwhelmed with things at work and it just made feel bad. I guess we all deal with that sometimes.
Anyway the training was a wake-up call about the importance of my involvement in my local SPJ chapter. I learned a lot more about how SPJ is run nationally. I also learned about all the neat resources the organization has to offer.
One of my favorite parts of the weekend was sort of a speed dating-esque session designed to discuss ideas with other participants on everything from recruiting and retaining local chapter members to programming ideas. I came away from that session with a ton of notes.
I also met some great people. We also had quite a bit of time to get to know each other. The organizers always had us sit with different people during each session and there was plenty of time to talk during mealtimes. It was tough to get to interact with everyone in such a short time, but there were a few people I ended up really having some great talks with. The best part is knowing that I have some folks that I can contact if I need some inspiration or to bounce ideas with.
Other fun stuff: a run around the IUPUI campus, duckpin bowling, a shipping container art exhibit and a drag show for the ages.
Now my focus is trying to process all this information and put it to good use. I have scheduled a time for myself to process all the notes and figure out how to best implement these ideas.
I have the final printed edition in my hands, purchased for $1.00. But to me, that paper will be priceless. It represents so many things.
- The end of a two-newpspaer town
- The realization that yes, print newspapers will die, and it will happen sooner, not later
- The destruction of dreams and hopes for 100 or so journalists, photographers, copy editors and other staff members who worked for years, their entire lives to develop their craft.
- The beginning of the digital age of newspapers, which is scary for many.
So where does that put me? I am exploring, thinking, brainstorming on what this new age of journalism means for someone like myself, a 20-something reporter who has pursue the path for more than a decade.
I guess I have time to develop a new career. But I’m not just ready to give up this one yet.
My industry is changing.
For better and for worse.
I bet most of you are inclined to believe that most of it is bad. And a lot of is bad. Several newspaper companies are in bankruptcy or in danger of such, newspapers continue to try to layoff out of trouble and the revenue for our print products products have continued to dwindle.
But there is very much good going on here. And I think for the next few entries, I’m going to try to write about good stuff I see going on.
- I want to send props to the Seattle chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association. (Disclaimer: I am involved in this organization) They have been aggressive about pushing discussion on how our industry can reinvent ourselves. Most recently they held “Choppy Waters” a conference on new ways we can distribute information. And as someone personally trying to figure out how to deal with things, I’m glad I have the support of this organization to help me along.
- Tracy Record, of West Seattle Blog, is one of my new media heroes. And I have to say that the name is a misnomer — this is a full news site and Tracy is a really great journalist. She basically took what was a hobby and turned it into something that people check on a daily basis. And it makes enough money so Record and her family can live.
- Finally I want to give props to Todd Bishop and John Cook of Tech Flash. The former Seattle PI reporters have basically provided a very comprehensive news site on technology. I was a big fan of both when they were blogging for the PI, and I’m glad to see that it has evolved to this site. If you love technology, you got to check it out.
I’m sick of hearing the bad news. Yes, Virginia, journalism can survive. And thrive.