Caretakers of a vanishing world

Keith Jenkins, The Washington Post picture editor, makes a clarion call to newsrooms and their managers in "Take a Blogger to Lunch (And Other Radical Ideas for Journos Struggling to Understand the Web)" on Poytner's site.

In the process of his call for change NOW, he hammers the caretaker attitude of newsrooms, "hiding, hoping to be passed over, undiscovered, until they can make their way safely out of town."

It's a tough mindset to change. In our newsroom, convincing managers to use IM as a communication tool has been like asking some to have a root canal without a shot. Blogging still brings on quite a bit of journalistic credibility handwringing even while we have an expanding core of writers doing it -- with a few of them generating excellent traffic numbers.

And our newsroom has an advantage many don't: A new media veteran as editor. The newsroom is being challenged to change, to think differently, to try new approaches. There are successes and pockets of change There has been overall glacial movement. Yes, glacial.

The money quote from Jenkins' piece:

What our newsrooms do have are decision-makers who have never built a Web page by hand, watched Rocketboom, or listened to a podcast. They don't 'get' YouTube and have never heard of Flickr or del.icio.us or Boing Boing. They think viewing a 30-inch story on a cell phone is cutting-edge and don't understand that I would rather spend 10 minutes downloading littleloca videos or hanging out in Second Life, than reading their newspapers -- even the online version. They are not innovators, they are caretakers.

(via Howard Owens)

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