How To: Journalism 2.0

“There’s never been a better time to be a journalist. That might sound odd considering how many newspaper journalists lost their jobs since 2000 (3,000), but there has never been a time that offered so many powerful ways to tell stories and serve readers with information. If you love journalism, you have to love having more tools at your disposal, more interaction with your audience and the near disappearance of traditional constraints of time and space”, writes Mark Briggs in his handbook Journalism 2.0, which is available now as free download at Get it now, you probably won’t find a better digital literacy guide around.

Once a sportswriter, Mark Briggs today works as Assistant Managing Editor for Interactive News an The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington. In 1998 he discovered what the Internet could do for journalism and has been spreading knowledge about new media technology and journalism skills ever since, including winning several awards for the innovative use of media. How to survive and thrive in Journalism 2.0, that’s what his short and skilful handbook is all about. Web 2.0.? Setting up RSS feeds? How to blog?
How to report news for the Web? Shooting video for news and feature stories? Writing scripts, doing voice-overs? You find everything carefully explained here. Even if you only have a minimum understanding of all things technological at your disposal, you will be able to cope with most of journalism 2.0’s new challenges after reading Briggs’ book.

With phrases like “Can you send an attachment with an e-mail? Then you have what it takes to publish a blog with pictures” exposed throughout, Briggs’ practical guide really encourages readers to engage in exchanging information, posting news and commentary, reporting, filming, editing for online media. Handling new tools and increasing digital literacy should especially appeal to professional journalists sticking to their traditional methods in print or broadcasting. It’s obvious that their future in the business is Biggs’ main concern here, and his approach to address them is really nice and convincing: “At the end of each chapter there are suggestions on how to get started with each skill or discipline. Find one that’s interesting and play around with it. That’s right, ‘play’ with it.
That’s how most journalists got into this game in the first place – they enoyed it (remember your college newspaper or radio station?). And that’s how most journalists have adapted to the digital age. They found some fun in learning new skills and creating content in a new medium.”

Finding fun in learning and creating content on various media platforms is one thing. The other thing is extra time and payment. And this is a critical point on the horizon of journalism 2.0’s new media environment, where information is not anymore a one-to- many but a many-to-many-discourse, or, so to speak, “not a lecture but a conversation”. For instance, imagine yourself as a digitally literate journalist, not only publishing your work in newspapers but also exchanging information in your blog, and supplying photos and videos for online newsrooms. You may be experienced with new media platforms and have an efficient time mangagement, but surely you will have to work more and harder. Of course, you may be much closer to readers due to having your own blog, and by this your fame as a news reporter might also spread. But what about the money? Will you get extra pay for supplying multi-media information? And, thanks to contributors in your blog you’ll be able to supply much more detailed information and profound analysis to your audience. But then, wouldn’t contributors claim to participate financially in your thriving business one day?

Briggs hits that topic only superficially when he points out that journalists should make the new opportunities of journalism 2.0 work for them. The change is on, go for it, it’s that easy – that’s his rhetoric here. It works perfectly for the dissemination of practical information, and on this level Briggs has submitted a great cook-book. It’s free to download, everyone should own it, so thanks for that! Whether and how journalism 2.0 will actually develop into a win-win situation for all involved, will become clear in the
future and will have to be discussed on further terms – economic, cultural, social, political.

European Journalism Centre online, 2007