Carnival of Journalism

October Carnival of Journalism: Exploring new tools

Crossposted from my personal website – Bryan

photo by Flickr user Zoriah. Use permitted under Creative Commons license. Click to see more images from this photographer.

This month’s Carnival of Journalism takes us on a tour of a truly frightful house of promise and peril: the world of new gadgets and software tools.

To refresh your memory, the prompt for this month was:

How do you decide to dedicate time to a new tool/platform/gadget? What is the process you go through mentally? And then later – how do you convince others to go through that process? And, last: How do you ensure that the tools you do adopt are used once the “newness” factor fades?

Without further delay, here are some of the responses (links open in new tabs):

Alfred Hermida writes, “The starting point for this discussion is the public, not the tools. Talking about tools is the last thing we should be doing.”

Joe Gullo looks for “the community factor” for new software tools, but says the results are often lackluster: “The hardest part is sticking with the product. It could be the most amazing service or product, but something has to keep me going back and using it.”

Dave Cohn makes an important distinction when evaluating any new tool: “Most platforms/tools/gadgets are tactical – not strategic. You should always keep your strategy in mind so that you can evaluate a tool about whether or not it’s helping to achieve that final goal.”

Carrie Brown focuses on the “evangelism” part of the question, and gives a list of ways to help others see the advantages of new things. This is important for college j-students, especially. “Contrary to popular belief, many of these so-called “digital natives” are often neither savvy about new tech nor exceptionally eager to go beyond their Facebook and Internet Explorer (?!) comfort zones.”

Lauren Rabaino walks through the process and provides examples of the best tools: “The best tools are the ones that solve a coverage problem or put a significant twist on already-existing storytelling tools. Sometimes — and these are my favorite kind of tools — you stumble upon one that fills a huge need that you didn’t even realize you had.”

Jonathan Groves explains how he decides what products to stick with, providing examples along the way. As for convincing others? His approach is slightly different. Click the link to read it. “What’s important is that we choose what best fits us, not everyone else.”

Stijn Debrouwere makes his first appearance in the carnival this month (welcome!). In his post, he posits some fountational reasons why journalists don’t adopt new tools: “our industry is slowly amassing an unsettling amount of cargo cult behaviors: we’re imitating a 20th-century writing style and ethical code without the first idea about how these contribute to journalism that is informative, engaging and fair.”

Jack Lail reiterates that, although it’s painful, “… experiment you must, lest you end up still using a 14,400 baud model and Windows 98 for the rest of your, indeed, wretched life.”

Andrew Zaleski, another new carnivore, explains “Ultimately, I stick to one governing principle when it comes to social media: how will the respective tool improve (and make easier) my work as digital media editor for Urbanite magazine?”


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