Some quotes to think about
In catching up on my reading, I've come across a couple of quotes I think are worth rolling around in your head.
From a story in Campus Technology about students using mobile devices to access campus Web portals:
Importantly, there is one small but crucial distinction between the glance at a watch and one at the time display on a cell phone: The watch keeps its own particular time, but the cell phone tells its owner what time the rest of the world thinks it is. Because the time is constantly updated via synchronization with a mobile phone service, the cell phone display works more like a newsfeed than a personal appliance. (John Savarese, April 2005 18:8)To me, that sounds a lot like a metaphor for the current state of media affairs, especially in news. Our customers are now constantly connnected to the world, and unlike the past, each of us -- journalist or journalism operation -- is a smaller player in it. We have to get used to that.
From Simon Waldman, digital publishing director for the UK's Guardian Newspapers, in an ethics roundtable on Online Journalism Review last August (I told you I was catching up):
I think that one should be engraved on top of every newsroom door.
Get the story right. Get it out there as quickly as possible. Do it in that order, and you will have no problems. Do it the other way round, and after a while you won't be taken seriously. It doesn't matter if you're a blogger with a dozen readers a day, or a major news organization with a million or more.
And, if you will permit a bit of immodesty, I wrote this to a student today who is interning on a small community paper but is chafing at all the goings-on in London. "With everything that is going on in the world, especially today, it's killing me to be covering the ground-breaking of the new senior center and (this town's) finest produce stand, but you do what you have to."
Just a thought: That senior center and produce stand are very important to a lot of people -- more so than what happened in London today. With one story, you're probably having a more direct impact on their lives than CNN, Fox, the New York Times ... and the networks combined. Just ask them sometime -- they really do arrange their lives sometimes by what you tell them. Think of that family that's been trying to find a good place for grandma to live or spend her days, the mother who wants fresh veggies for her kids. If you write with those people in mind, you'll make a difference, it will show in your work, and you'll eventually get where you want to be.I wish I could convince more students of that.