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Everyone works on everything (Part II)

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I had earlier written about what I was trying to achieve with TheEdgeMalaysia.com (an NYU course on New Media validates my approach).

And now, I find that Alan Murray, the deputy managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, further validates that approach.

Here’s what he says:

In the digital area, you do want people who can be very fast and are willing to, you know, post multiple times a day and to multitask… They really have to get engaged in finding their audience. You know, my generation, the notion of marketing your own copy, that was like dirty — don’t make me get near that. That’s somebody else’s job. But in fact, now, marketing — we don’t call it that, but that’s a big part of what online journalists do. Figuring out which blogs they need to be in touch with in order to keep their audience together, using Twitter to drive traffic to your stuff, figuring out the right mix.

So all of that, which is part of the job of building a community, building an audience — those are totally new skills. And so when I say entrepreneurial, I’m talking about people who have shown some ability to play that game, which is very foreign to most journalists my age.

You have to play to people’s strengths. What we’ve done is we’ve gone out and tried to figure out who are the people in the newsroom who can really adapt to that new style of posting seven times a day and enjoy it? Because, one thing about the web, and I think you guys know this, is if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, it’s gonna come through. It’s a much more personal medium. And so if you’re not in there, having a good time, excited about what you’re doing, there’s very little possibility that you’re readers are going to get excited about what you’re doing.

So there’s not much point in taking a reporter and saying you ought to be writing eight times on the web. It just doesn’t get you anywhere. So as a manager, what I’ve tried to do and what we’ve tried to do is find the people who are particularly suited for that and let them be the ones to do that. And they get very excited about it and juiced about it and enjoy doing it. And then try and create jobs for other people to do the type of journalism they do best.

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Written by Oon Yeoh

April 16, 2009 at 1:41 am

Posted in Uncategorized