Posts tagged journos
Posts tagged journos
Metro editor Brian Kelley had a great reminder in our first Breaking News to the Maximus: Mobile Gladiator Workshop:
Don’t forget to keep a phone charger in your car. Some apps can drain your battery in no time.
So that got me thinking … what else should you keep in your car for possible spot-news situations?
I asked the entire Roanoke Times newsroom to send their ideas, and I wasn’t disappointed …. turned out to be a very engaging (and entertaining) way to tap into the wealth of knowledge among my peers.
Be sure to scroll to the bottom to find out which journalist among us drives a car nicknamed “battle wagon” (pictured above) … it’s kind of insane.
—- Pencils … pens don’t work well in rain or bitter cold (and you never know when the ink might run out). (Suggested by Duncan Adams, Matt Chittum, Kathy Lu)
—- Extra notebooks (Miranda Beck, Jeff Sturgeon, Courtney Cutright)
—- Extra pens (Miranda Beck, Jeff Sturgeon)
—- Emergency shoes / boots / clothes (Kathy Lu: “I used to always carry emergency clothes in the trunk (shoes that can get muddy; shirts I didn’t care about) in case I had to get messy. Of course, the problem is that these clothes eventually looked really outdated b/c they’d been there so long.) Miranda Beck carries pants, socks and hiking shoes.
—- Safety vest (From Cathy Benson: My kids gave me a yellow vest for Christmas that I wore for the first time at the school bus accident. They even wrote “Press” on it.)
—- Flashlight (Ellen Moseley)
—- Virginia map (Ellen Moseley: “GPS isn’t always going to work … we have roads up in Alleghany Co. that say, ‘not found,’).
—- Printout of the newsroom phone list (in case you don’t have it accessible on your phone .. ahem, gladiators! … or your cellphone dies). (Kathy Lu)
—- The LAW. A copy of the Virginia law that exempts news personnel from the physical restrictions of police lines and barricades. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+coh+15.2-1714+700656 and this, too: http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/know-your-rights-photographers (Jeff Sturgeon)
—- Sunscreen ( Jeff Sturgeon)
—- Deodorant (“I’ve learned that lesson more than a few times, especially when it’s summertime and I have to get in and out of the car a bunch of times. People who don’t like reporters really don’t like smelly reporters,” writes Miranda Beck).
—- Binoculars (Jeff Sturgeon)
—- “A snack. Always a snack.” (Evelyn Rupert)
—- Bottles of water (Miranda Beck)
—- Toilet paper (for allergies, too) (Miranda Beck)
—- Voice recorder (Mike Shaw)
—- Point-and-shoot camera (Mike Shaw)
—- SD card (Miranda Beck)
But who is the most prepared?
Our very first Mobile Gladiator Award must go to New River Valley photo intern Daniel Lin, who drives a Chevy Malibu equipped for just about anything.
At the Collegiate Times, my car became known as the “battle-wagon” due to its perhaps over-the-top preparedness for breaking news.
A mental inventory of the basics is as follows:
• 2 police scanners, one left in the car as a base scanner, connected to an external antenna, the other is my portable.
• Car GPS, for obvious reasons.
• Handheld GPS, for when I leave the car in a totally unfamiliar area or a tromp in the woods becomes necessary.
• Rain jacket (hard to hold an umbrella when you’re taking photos and jotting notes)
• Rain pants (because in heavy rain, the water coming off the jacket has to go somewhere, and there’s this pesky thing called gravity)
• Rite-in-the-rain notebook and Fisher space pen (I keep my mileage on it, and also is idiot-proofing if I forget my primary notebook)
• My old voice recorder, w/extra batteries (more idiot-proofing)
• Trauma kit permanently attached to my backpack (added after December 8th at Tech when I realized that had things gone differently, I could have easily been in the line of fire)
• Basic first aid kit, for more normal cuts and scratches.
• 3 MREs (Meals, Ready-to-Eat). Working with the Tech Army ROTC has taught me how to tolerate shelf-stable rations. Indispensable when in the field longer than expected.
• Some granola bars and other “car snacks” for when an Army ration is overkill.
• Case of bottled water.
• Two highway vests with “PRESS” on them. I originally had one, but when I realized reporters sometimes hop in my car, it’s handy to have two.
• Hard hat (although I’m not sure why, just seems like a popular news vehicle item and I had one laying around)
• Power inverter for my cigarette outlets (and I have a car cord for my computer anyway)
• A basic change of clothes, a jacket, and two extra pairs of socks. I’ll often leave my boots in the trunk as well in case trekking through the woods becomes required.
• A phone charger (usually for other people’s phones, my dumbphone has a 4-day functional battery life)
• Extra flashlight w/ extra batteries (500 lumens, can throw a beam about 125m)
• Bank of AA and AAA batteries.
• I keep my camera beltpack in my trunk, just in case I feel it’s necessary to move my stuff into in from my day-to-day bag.
• In the winter, a winter weather kit with blankets, more food, etc. Because I might get sent out to cover bad weather, I could very easily become stuck in it too. Also not a bad thing to have in general
• Basic car kit with jumper cables, tow ropes, some extra oil, rags, etc.
• $100 cash in $5 bills stashed away. You never know when you might need it.
I think that should just about cover most everything. I do what I can to pack my car for two, because inevitably for breaking news I’m going to end up hauling a reporter around as well.
Tom Carter, a longtime copy editor, was reminded of Richard Harding Davis’ “A War Correspondent’s Kit,” which you can find here:
Michele McLellan of the Knight Digital Media Center (and co-author of “News, Improved”) has really inspired me through the years … this March 2012 battle cry, especially: Training: A change agent for news organizations.
I stumbled onto it just as I returned freshly energized from SXSW, with big plans to engage the newsroom with more training. Her post helped seal the deal. I hope you find it just as inspiring (and she shares 10 tips for creating a goals-focused newsroom learning program).
Here’s one of my favorite excerpts:
“In ‘News, Improved,’ Tim Porter and I wrote: ‘The news industry trains people as badly as a fast-food diet nourishes them. Training is episodic rather than continuous. Random, rather than strategic. Long on talk. Short on measurable impact. Not exactly the kind of well-balanced learning diet” required to build and maintain an adaptive organization. By strategic training, we mean programs that are developed based on specific organizational goals that are clearly and consistently articulated by the leadership and understood by the staff.’ “
Now I have another book to add to the must-read list!
My favorite excerpts from “The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work” by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer …
—> “Progress lives in the everyday, not just in quarterly reports or milestone checkpoints. And building a great organizational climate happens through everyday words and actions, not through a series of major one-time initiatives.”
—> “Business schools, business books, and managers themselves usually conceptualize management as managing organizations or managing people. But if you focus on daily progress in meaningful work, managing people and the entire organization will become much more feasible. You won’t have to figure out a way to X-ray subordinates’ inner work lives because, if you facilitate their steady progress in meaningful work, make that progress salient to them, and treat them well as people, they will experience the perceptions, emotions, and motivation necessary for great performance. Their superior work will contribute much to organizational success. In the bargain, they will be excited about their jobs.”
—> “One event at a time, you shape the climate from which your people take their cues.”
Read more at http://www.progressprinciple.com/
Sent this email to our newsroom today to help promote my upcoming mobile breaking news workshop …
So the best way to describe my three-year progression from a gentle features soul editing Inside Out (where most everything was fun and well-planned) to boldly embracing the chaos of breaking news is best summed up here …
Why “Gladiator”? Because that brutal chariot battle scene has stuck with me for years.
Right before Russell and his poor, fellow gladiators are thrown into the ring for sure death, he mutters:
“Whatever comes out of these gates, we’ve got a better chance of survival if we work together. … If we stay together, we survive.”
That couldn’t be more true during a breaking news event, which can be just as scary and unpredictable as the gladiator ring …. but hopefully less bloody.
Team work, quick strategy, clear communication … and realizing that it’s going to be a messy, imperfect process make all the difference.
Would you like help transforming from Bambi to kick-ass Gladiator?
Please plan on attending my mobile breaking news workshop this Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the News Conference Room, where I’ll share some recent examples of our Gladiator teamwork awesomeness … along with some essential apps and shortcuts to report from your phone. I’m calling it a workshop because I want it to be hands-on … so bring your phone!
This training is so important that I’ll be scheduling additional workshops throughout the summer if you can’t make it Tuesday.
BTW, you can watch that Gladiator scene here, but you’ve been warned … it’s pretty gory.
Plan to use this short mobile reporting video from Newsday social media coordinator @TC_McCarthy in some summer training at The Roanoke Times … The video snippet during his Hurricane Irene coverage is exactly the kind of Facebook video promo-ing I hope to see in our newsroom.
Feeling apathetic? Too pressured? Some good tips here …
My top 4 takeaways from
1. TWEETS ARE JOURNALISM. Are you verifying your Twitter sources before you retweet? You should be. Are you correcting your inaccurate tweets by sending a follow-up tweet? Ditto. What happens if our competitors are reporting something that we haven’t yet confirmed? Do we stay silent? Depending on the urgency of the news, we can tweet that we’re hearing reports of an incident and working to get details. Transparency and reporting precisely what we know is key. Also, Suki had a message to editors: Are you paying attention to what your reporters are tweeting? Because that’s journalism, and it should be part of the workflow.
2. TWEET SOURCE CHECK: Which government agencies — or PIOs — or other official sources — should you be following on your beat? For example, I pay close attention to @511southwestva for VDOT traffic alerts … @rpdsafercity (Roanoke police) … and @RoanokeFireEMS. Other than official sources, are you following your competitors — or reporters covering your beat at other news organizations?
3. LET’S GET SERIOUS ABOUT LISTS. This webinar was a good reminder that we should be creating and continually pruning our Twitter lists, which can be extremely valuable to ourselves as we expand and share our sources … and need to find them quickly in breaking news situations. Lists also serve as a helpful directory for the public, which can use them like phone books. You can find our lists here » https://twitter.com/#!/roanoketimes/lists. And yes, our lists are far from complete (what should we add? You can help!). We’re hoping to compile a #swva Influencer list — local folks with big followings. Who should be on this? And how are you using lists on your beat?’
4. TIME FOR A #MEETUP? The Seattle Times hosted a public meetup with various government agencies (specifically the folks who tweet on those accounts). They had a former editor facilitate a conversation in which they discussed mutual challenges, standards for tweets and expectations. By reaching out to the people behind the curtain, they’ve been able to develop those relationships and improve their communication. Let me know if this is something you’d like to help organize.
… I received it as part of this week’s Innovative Leadership Conference, organized by the Virginia Cooperative Extension and the city of Roanoke. Wonderful training based on this book by the Heath brothers (one of whom is affiliated with Stanford. Proving once again … all creative roads lead to Stanford).
Let’s talk Pinterest!
Noon Thursday, July 12 , News Conference Room
Food writer (and Pinterest addict) Lindsey Nair is spearheading our Pinterest efforts across the company. Are you following our pin boards? We’ll hear tips about this exploding new social network in a discussion led Lindsey.
2 p.m. Thursday, July 26, News Conference Room
Tips and discussion led by photo editor Natalee Waters.