Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Nimble, a lovely word

The time sure feels ripe for training journalists. In one item below, a new study shows that editors world-wide want it for the reporters in their newsrooms. And per the next item, a different study, we learn that journalists have been yearning for training for up to five years.

First, the World Editors Forum, in conjunction with Reuters and another group, asked 435 editors around the world what they'd do to improve journalism.
Among other questions, they were asked "If you had to invest in editorial quality, what would you do first within the newsroom?".

Thirty-seven per cent said they would train journalists in new media skills, 23 per cent would recruit more journalists, 19 per cent would re-train in traditional skills, 10 per cent would add more opinion analysis writers, six per cent would replace staff with younger journalists, and 5 per cent would take another, unspecified, approach.

Second, a new book came out today that illustrates the path. Called "News Improved", it tells the stories of forward-moving newsrooms. A Knight Foundation-funded Newsroom Training Initiative over the last four years has infused $10 million into newsroom projects. The results are explored in this book, written with Knight money by Michele McClellan and Tim Porter. Among its points, journalists really want more training. Per one account of the new book's contents:
In 2002, a Knight survey of nearly 2,000 journalists found that eight in 10 newsroom staffers wanted more training than they were getting. An update to that study, "Investing in the Future of News," which was released today in the "News, Improved" book, reports that the number has increased to nine in 10.

Here's an assist to the working journalist. Take a short, 10-question survey on training in your own newsroom, and you can get a free copy of the book for your time and trouble, here.

Now about that word, nimble. I've always thought mid-sized newspapers were in a better position than big-city dailies. Their smaller size made them more flexible, able to adjust more quickly. It turns out that can be an important asset. Here's the guy who wrote the intro to "News Improved", Eric Newton, talking:

"Media evolution doesn't favor the big or strong," he writes. "It favors the nimble.

"Be nimble."