1. My worry, at least a bit, is that the words and images people aren’t overlapping much. still. i feel like, as primarily a “word” guy with a new visual orientation, i may need to be attending photographer confabs until we get more multidisciplinary. i wonder what you keep your eye on, and where you recommend people go.I think your worry is valid. It seems to me like words and images people either either don’t overlap at all or else one person is overloaded trying to do both. I can sense you think journalism should have figured this out a while ago. I agree. I think in traditional newsrooms, like the four newspapers I’ve worked at, there’s still a lot of separation. The photographers are over here on this side of the building and the reporters are elsewhere. If they had the time or inclination to merge each others strengths, I think they could produce killer multimedia. That belief drove me get my master’s at the University of Missouri sincerely believing I would someday produce killer newspaper multimedia, since I had significant experience and passion for both writing and producing great visuals. I have since learned that newspapers are not interested in the time, cost or disruption to the way things have always been that high-quality multimedia inevitably brings.The next part of your question, what I keep my eye on and where I recommend people should go to learn killer multimedia/design/photo skills, I am going to save as a whole blog post. I think I have a good answer for you.2. i wonder what newspapers you think are doing good online video projects. what’s on your radar? i’m still seeing a lot of really substandard, tv-ish stuff throughout the landscape, and i definitely want to be keeping my eye on who is doing the best work. but a lot of the stuff i saw win POY for multimedia this year, for instance, was done by students. hey, great, students are totally hip to this stuff, and that’s awesome. but i’m wondering where, when people ask for job advice, where i should be pointing them.You may not like this answer, but it’s the truth. Other than the big dogs like the NY Times, WaPo, MediaStorm, DSLRnewsshooter.com that you already know of, I don’t watch much newspaper — or really any — journalistic multimedia anymore. And the reason is that it’s largely very poor quality. Occasionally, I see a good piece out there, but it’s rare. I don’t feel like it’s worth my time to sift through the crap to try to find the gold. The recent trend towards deadline, iPhone-quality video, as well as shrinking staffs, budgets and the desire to learn new skills have all devastated the quality of news multimedia. It’s not worth watching for the most part. That really pains me to say because only a few years ago, it was my personal crusade to change all that. As far what I do watch, stay tuned to the blog and I’ll answer that in my next post.3. As a former print editor and reporter, I share your concern about “story first.” Writers, left to their own devices, will disregard the visual. Sometimes photographers will stray from the story to its detriment, too. The magic is in the middle, and we often don’t address the middle.Couldn’t agree with you more. Wrote a whole post about this here that I really should elaborate on.4. As a writer/producer, i wonder: are you still finding that photographers are being asked to “do it all?” is there any paper you’re seeing branch out to anything other than a shoestring, overstressed staff?You may not like this either, but my answer’s no to both questions. I still see that photographers are often asked to do it all. Having a great visual eye and technical ability does NOT make a photographer the best candidate for telling a multimedia story. The same way that writing a killer profile and winning writing awards does NOT make a print report a shoe-in for a great multimedia story. You either have to work together, or better yet, learn some new skills yourself. Your respect for each other grows bigtime when you start learning what it takes for the other person to do his or her job. Looking back at my first job at the Anchorage Daily News, I didn’t appreciate the photo staff near enough. Now, that I shoot, light and edit every day — as well as write — I value that side a lot more. And I can contribute, take over or get the hell away if I need to on a team project. That respect will go a long way towards getting people working together.That kind of went off topic. As for as a paper branching out and doing something new… not that I’ve heard of. The reality is that newspapers still make all their money from the print product and they would rather ride that horse (and its profit margins) until it dies rather than change horses. Newspapers are not where real innovation in multimedia is happening. Period. What’s the incentive? The people at those places are already getting laid off, their pay slashed and more work piled on them than ever before. Newspapers run websites like their print product, with the notion it has to be fresh. All. The. Time. That’s fine sometimes, but it seems like the trend of relentlessly updating (often trivial stories) pushes aside the ability to innovate, fail and do really quality stories, especially multimedia ones.4. So I wonder a) how and where we all get together to talk about process, and b) where we should be watching in terms of managers who “get” that great work is often created by a process that most papers don’t seem to employ.That’s a great question. (Isn’t that what people always say when they don’t know the answer?). As far an Internet destination where people get together to talk process, I don’t know. Same goes for finding leaders with a willingness change. From my experience, it’s hit and miss. There are innovative people in every newsroom. However, they seem so often to be held back by those who don’t want to change or the philosophy of the organization.I can see some value in discussing process at a smaller level, like in your newsroom with your coworkers.But I honestly don’t think process is the biggest challenge here. Not by a long shot. Desire and vision are the problems. Until individual journalists, their editors and news organizations as a whole really develop the passion to do great work and see the enormous opportunities out there created by technological innovations and a changing world, the process will not change. Everywhere, I’ve worked (which is a small sample size, I know), there is not a lot of desire to change and grow and buck the journalism status quo. When that changes, “process” will change as a natural consequence.
Hope that was helpful. Would be interested in your comments.