Jtm-dc-community journalism skill set

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Journalist dealing w/ communities

Traditional j – lone man reporter

New j – creating the space where other people can report – this takes work – opening up a site to community J – couple different roles

Cheerleader – go get the cj

Strict father – esp dealing w/ volunteers – enforcing standards of good conduct on line, but realizing that people are volunteers and can't be threatened with being fired/no pay.

Campaign manager – how to motivate people to do things – tricks to that trade that J do not have.

There is a skill set and a mind set in running community sites

We are starting a brand new community site – what skills do we need?


Broadcast cj models

American public media – network of 33,000 people – ask for their expertise – new role of analysts who mediate between the community and the journalists – we are good at managing the flow of info so that we are not getting overwhelmed – 30 to 40 responses beyond that it is hard to get the value out it

Skills of analysts

  • Openness to the input – respect for the audience skills
  • Ability to sit back and take in lots of info and let the salient points emerge
  • Ability to spot good stories –ability to see the seed of a really good story in a short email


Background: J, reporter, anchor, biologists, looking for real J – have to have openness and news judgment – traditional J had a hard time getting their head around this model – there is a romantisim to J you have to understand bc you will have a hard time getting J moving into this role if they grew up watching all the pres men – it is a different ladder – entry level

New heros – Craig newmark – Craig’s list – he now is their customer service – Scotty Pippen of community management – but they are not J perse - Jimmy wikipedia is an exchange of info

Jimmy Wales -- the Michael Jordan of community websites.

The communities that work the best is that everyone participates in the community even the senior folks – no matter what your base role is everyone is involved in the community – i.e. Craig answering complaints.

community sites need a point person: one person who can do it all and is the center of communication.

Managing the relationship over time – lots of time cj relationships are on off

Current tv – cj tv for broadcasting model

Creating a space – or party – the j in this case instead of going out to report –they create the space – it is more about the interaction within the community – the hardest part of this is keeping up on the relationships – one offs are deadly – have to keep people engaged

Skill sets

  • Data mining
  • News judgment – sort out the whackos and understanding the needs of a broader audience or recognizing an original, good idea and not a whacko idea
  • Responsiveness – timeliness, real time turn-around, acknowledge and validate
  • Have to see the community – have to be involved in the community – cannot just put up a site and expect it to happen
  • Community building skills – like a facilitator in a conference – yesterday focused on helping people to get to know one another – and today we are more comfortable working together and talking to each other – how do you translate this to an on line environment – how to help people build on line relationships – interpersonal communication skills – writing, speaking
  • Peace and conflict management
  • Introducing other people to each other – connecting people in the community – facilitation skills
  • outreach and finding communities – crafts are huge – engaging communities on line – finding them and getting them to open up to you – give you the information you seek
  • networking skills – expanding the links – ie traditional j know contacts for one content area – but what about other things they know and other people they know and how can I connect to that – me my 20 sources and their 20 sources – you can only do this in on line communities – I exist in several on line communities – I am digidave in all my on line communities – J have a natural ability to use interpersonal connections but it is very one dimensional – have to expand this skill in a networked organization
  • community management relations
  • working with developer to design the site – the developer needs to be part of the community and making suggestions about what you need – class journalist/developers – have to speak the same language – when we put together a data base – have to work with the developer to – one of the obligations of J skills is to work more closely w/ computer science departments on development – there is an interium step – journalists who can speak the language so you get some one who can talk the technical language without laughing - I took an ap computer science class in hs – I don’t use it but the one thing I did get from it is that I know that when you are programming you have to create spaces to store data and you have different types of info and data – numberical – and you have to set the paradigmers for that so that you now the types of data and the types of tech so that you know what you need – learn the logic of data bases – non geeks need to know this – what can a data base do – how a different pieces of information together and apply this language to community
  • on the other hand we need to have programs for journalists that speak to journalism = that speak the other way – Lou – community algorithm for J – using newspaper archives – the goal is to have it available to the whole community (Tom - )



these skills are not taught at J school – is this journalism –

J do this – these are aspects of J skills – the question is if you do all this do you have time to write a story – do J in these environments write – you are the managing editor, you don’t write, others write.

Lets call this a Newsroom for fun, rather then a community

People I worked with were volunteers


Open source radio - talk radio – chris laden – 3-5 people talking about an issue – blogged before hand to suggest angles – employed a blogger and chief and his job was to read and respond – acknowledging and validating comments – every email responded to in 3 hours and this a full time job

Vita.mn – arts and entertainment guide = content generated by the community and Matt is all over the place and his job is to be out there talking to everyone

Assignment zero – could not respond to everyone – we met digital and are friends on line – you need someone at center – a community manager – cannot be friends with everyone – techie trend story for wired magazine – built a community to help us create the story – 80 interviews, 10 stories on this topic

Editorial needs

Community needs

Development and design needs – user interface has to work before anyone else can

Why did you stay on even if he did not respond – bc he was my friend and I was supporting him –

How can j learn this and why are we not learning it

What role does personal interaction play – beat J have to have relationships within the area that they cover – community j need relationships


J as Observer vs activist – j report on a problem or trend – communities are organized around solutions and activities to move the issue along – to continue to live the story

Who is doing this community manager/journalist?

Sex drive management at wired.com – products and issues related to sex – community exists wo her interacting with it – but she can go into the community to get info and feedback on her stories – community exists and goes on without her -

After-conference comments
Something I've been thinking of for a little while ... blends some ideas of myself and others ... one or more people for each site working as "guides" ... loosely, a "public face" between and maybe among the news operation and the community members and the material available ... not an ombudsman, but they might have some overlapping functions.
This is related to my thinking that newspapers (or news operations) are or should be a metaphorical village plaza, regardless of any technology or not. We're at least among the guides to the community.
We help people learn about stuff. We help people connect -- with each other, with information, with potential solutions to problems (which could be anything from "What should I do for dinner tonight?" to "I need to make new friends" to watchdogging, etc., etc.)
A person with the title of "guide" would make our general functions more direct and more personal. Besides just the direct benefits of the service, it could also lead to greater trust.
On the other hand, this person might get more status and sources in the community than the reporters, which could lead to jealousy. That potential might be lessened by allowing reporters and possibly others to rotate through the position.
Maurreen 04:41, 10 August 2007 (EDT)