Sunday, 21 June 2009

What to do with the newsroom anti-digitalists: "Fire the fuckers"


Every newsroom has its anti-digitalists. Yes still, after all the goings on in the industry, where the future of news has never looked more clearly digital, there are still those who proclaim proudly their disdain for the web.

And they are very often very vocal about their beliefs. "The internet is killing newspapers," is their favourite chant. Before turning to to update their Facebook status.

While many are just simply taking a vain stance against an inevitable digital future others are simply blustering, like the person who pretends he can't use a mobile phone.

My response to these people is to show them what digital can provide them. Clever use of SEO can simply bring more eyes to their work. Clever use of social media, can widen their sphere of influence as well as enhancing their contacts book beyond the restrictions which they are used to. Etc, etc.

All basic steps which make a huge difference for a journalist. And all the subject of training.

But how far do you go, and how long do you wait for the digital penny to drop?

In a recent interview, one of the forerunners of the digital news revolution, and a leading digital journalist trainer, Mark Comerford, clearly and characteristically draws a very verbal line in the sand.

If journalists aren't willing to develop and adapt, then "fire the fuckers," he tells Medie varlden in Sweden.

Strong words - particularly in Swedish "Brand jävlar" (if Google Translator is to be believed).

The man who set up Europe's first newspaper website (Aftonbladet) explains that those who are hostile to the web have an "unwillingness to see the future" and take "security in looking backwards".


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