Some things I've seen around the copy desk are a little disconcerting.
- Whole swaths of broadsheet content, sold in newsagents and discussed in taxi ranks, never make the leap onto the title's website.
- Mainstream broadcasters and broadsheets rarely link to each other, even though the radio and television presenters cite their newsprint sources on the air.
- Copy editors normally view tickertape information from Google News or content summaries from Electric Search as infringements on their work, even though they often source and display copy lifted directly from their electronic news alerts.
- Subeditors don't appreciate computers determining which stories get the spotlight on the Google News network. Even Fast Flip, an easy-reading news digest, is computer-generated.
For my part, in the Media Writing classroom, I expose people to finding, distilling and repurposing information. My guided tour stars with learning how to use the left sidebar in Google, filtering search results by hour, date, blogs, reviews, or side wiki streams of consciousness. This left hand view offers invaluable sparks of creativity, especially with breaking news items. I think better searching skills, including social network push notifications from a cluster of trusted friends, are essential skills for today's journalists.
Beyond the examination hall, after all the textbooks are returned to the shelves, one fact is certain: Google is better positioned to survive the current economic downturn than several Irish newspapers. In my mind, an editor can better safeguard his or her position by cultivating a more productive relationship with Google. It means understanding how to shovel things into Google's ecosystem and enhancing the standing of a title as a trustworthy source of local and national news. An awareness of those skills are not evident in the current HETAC standards for journalism curricula.
Mercedes Bunz -- "Google's vision of the future of journalism" in the Guardian, 7 Oct 09.
Bonus Track: http://podcasting.ie/tracks/hyperize.mp3