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Social Hour: Why a digital news reporter isn't the worst job of the year

by Tiffany Gibson Modified: April 30, 2013 at 9:05 am •  Published: April 30, 2013

“Top of the Morning,” readers. Let’s dive right into this week’s Social Hour.

First, New York Times TV reporter Brian Stelter kicked off his “Top of the Morning” book tour recently. He stopped in at several publications and TV stations last week to talk about the book, which he describes as “a gripping look at the most competitive time slot in television, complete with Machiavellian booking wars and manic behavior by the producers, executives, and stars.”

The book also reveals more details on “Operation Bambi,” a plot to kick Ann Curry off the “Today” show. Stelter writes that the plan consisted of convincing Matt Lauer to extend his contract, getting rid of Curry and replacing her with Savannah Guthrie. A source told Stelter that the plot was named “Operation Bambi” because ousting Curry would be akin to “killing bambi.”

Since the book hit shelves, Stelter has received criticism for the amount of anonymous sources, but he defends his work by saying that sources had to remain that way to keep their jobs.

Even though he has received negative press, he told MediaBistro that he’s received positive reviews from people in the industry.

 

 

Next, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but The New York Times’ Media Decoder blog is shutting down. Instead of the blog, the paper has announced that all media news will be shifting to the Media & Advertising section front.

“This change in presentation will provide readers with a single destination for all important and timely media news,” the company wrote on the blog. “No changes have been made in the reporting, editing and other resources devoted to media coverage. Thank you for reading.”

I’m a little bummed about this because Media Decoder is one of my favorite blogs. Plus, I like the presentation of the content. On the blog, I’m not bombarded with all types of multimedia and links. Instead, I can scroll down and choose the news I want to read.

However, I am glad The New York Times is continuing its coverage of the media and digital world. Now, I just have to bring myself to delete the blog from my feed reader.

As a journalist, I love the news and studying it, but I was quite troubled to read about a survey that lists a newspaper reporter as the worst job of the year. Oh, and behind the No. 2 position of a lumberjack.

The survey was conducted by CareerCast and ranked 200 jobs from best to worst based on five criteria: physical demands, work environment, income, stress and hiring outlook, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Stress, shrinking newsrooms and instability were all cited as justifications for a newspaper reporter’s low ranking; however, some argue that the industry is improving.

Media blogger Jim Romenesko also notes the survey was strictly referring to a newspaper reporter. All digital jobs are exempt from the survey.

After reading this, I have to agree. The survey didn’t make sense to me at first because I love my job and being able to connect with people on multiple platforms. But for those who are strictly newspaper reporters, I can understand the fear and stress they might be under.

Printing costs are high, and advertising revenue is declining. It all makes sense why this might seem like the worst job of the year, but it doesn’t have to be.

Whether you call yourself a “print” or “web” journalist, you should at least be well-versed in digital reporting. It’s important to keep up with technology and new platforms your readers are using.

This brings me to my final topic about media outlets ignoring technology trends.

Val Hoeppner, a digital media specialist, recently held a mobile reporting workshop at The Oklahoman and showed a commercial for the first mobile tablet. It was from 1994. The first iPad wasn’t released until 2010.

Sixteen years later, media outlets finally jumped on the tablet bandwagon. Sixteen. It seems a little unbelievable that it took the industry that long, and I have to wonder if we would be in the same predicament we’re in with free content if we would have been early adopters of technology.

On the flip side, most media outlets are now completely obsessed with new technology and engage with their audience on the Internet. Many newspapers have tech reporters and media desks now because journalists and their readers can’t get enough of digital news.

Why are we so obsessed with covering every new smartphone app and device that comes along? Is it because we’re trying to make up for ignoring technology early on? Is it too late to save the industry now?

I don’t think it is, but I think the way we tell stories will continue to evolve and change, as well as our business models. If we’ve learned our lessons from the past, then we’ll be more focused on technology and how it shapes our stories, community and daily lives.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.

And for fun, watch this video of the most cringeworthy tech ads of the ’90s via HuffingtonPost.com.


by Tiffany Gibson
News Online Editor
Tiffany Gibson has worked for the Oklahoman since August 2011 and is a member of the digital news team. In addition to writing and web editing, she also creates multimedia features for the website and maintains social media accounts. A Tennessee...
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