Social media and communications maven Ian Capstick is interviewing some journalists:
Journalists Who Blog is a series where journalists who report daily in Canada’s mainstream media talk about how the participatory web is changing their craft. Each of these writers have mastered the art of capturing what happened today and reporting online and for an audience tomorrow.I asked blogging journalists three questions about their craft and the evolution of reporting as the industry of news changes
Today, he published the results of his email interview with me.
On Tuesday, he published a similar interview with the Toronto Star’s Susan Delacourt.
On Sept. 30, Capstick published an interview with David Akin of Canwest News Service.
Capstick’s website overwrote my interview, but I salvaged a version from the Internet Archive on Aug. 11, 2014:
Journalists Who Blog is a series where journalists who report daily in Canada’s mainstream media talk about how the participatory web is changing their craft. Each of these writers have mastered the art of capturing what happened today and reporting online and for an audience tomorrow. I asked blogging journalists three questions about their craft and the evolution of reporting as the industry of news changes.
Yesterday, Susan Delacourt filed her responses. The second to report back is long time online journalist and blogger Bill Doskoch.
Interview with Bill Doskoch
Q: When and why did you start blogging?
I personally started blogging on Aug. 12, 2004 (http://billdoskoch.blogware.com). I finally got off my ass and took the plunge after attending an Aug. 3 conference entitled Exploring the Power of Public and Participatory Journalism (one of the best such events I’ve ever been to.)
When I worked at globeandmail.com as a web producer, I suggested to the editorial staff in late 2002/early 2003 that they might wish to consider experimenting with this form. Don’t ask me to explain the gap between my suggestions and my actions. It’s embarrassing.
Q: Are you are in touch with more readers and consumers of news because of social media; how does blogging or participating in social media change your reporting or refine your writing?
Hard to say. I’m more in touch with developments in my field because I follow some very knowledgeable people on Twitter (I’m @billdinTO). Their contributions make it a super charged wire service for me with respects to developments in online news.
My day job is working on the www.ctvtoronto.ca website. I’d say I’ve had some good convos via Twitter with a few public officials who are on Twitter, but less so on issues that matter with ordinary citizens.
I really need to work on that part of my social media activity. I wish Twitter were more of a tool for keeping in touch with ordinary citizens and not elites. But I also suspect only a small portion of the ctvtoronto.caaudience is actually on Twitter.
And I wish I got more thoughtful feedback from people in general. I get very little direct feedback on articles, and on political stories, those commenting are often just giving partisan spin rather than engaging in a real dialogue about the issue at hand.
An honest dialogue on important issues would be a dream come true, and it would be good for journalist and audience alike.
Q: As the business of gathering news changes and the people who report daily are adapting and learning new tools/skills to thrive – will distinctions remain between online, print, television and broadcast mediums?
Yes and no, because while not everyone will be brilliant at everything, they will need a broader skill set that what they’ve had.
I’ve worked beside radio/TV newsrooms and I’ve worked for newspapers, and the broadcast/print mindsets are quite different in some ways.
In TV, you need on-air presentation skills and the ability to be a visual and verbal storyteller that simply doesn’t exist in print. TV news often works best when it’s about the now, not yesterday or tomorrow. The formatting is more constrained. On the other hand, print is more information-dense, less visually dependent and is much more capable of dealing with context, complexity and abstraction.
Online throws yet another wrinkle into the mix, journalistically, technically and culturally.
If I were recruiting journalists for online, I would look for people who had good journalistic minds, can write text stories but can also capture and use visual and multimedia elements. It would also help if they were comfortable in front of the camera and be verbal (ie. Could they do a hit from the field?).
Being able to think and act both interactively and socially in the online medium would also be key skills, as well as basic computer and technical web skills.
Now the disquieting and ironic question — If those were the requirements, would I be qualified?