Friday, February 15, 2008

If the Internet scares you, try this

For a lot of journalists (and journalism students), the Internet is still a big scary place with things like XML, PHP, AJAX, XHTML and lots of other low-flying abbreviations.

Oh sure, they know how to Google and maybe use some databases online. But lurking out there is "geekdom" -- you know, that mystical land where they can make really cool stuff happen on a Web page and you just know that that's the skills stuff they're going to be looking for and I can't learn all this coding and ...

Slow down, Bunky. As many have said, you won't necessarily have to be a code jockey to be a journalist. But it will be useful to know the sorts of things that can be done and the effort and resources needed to do them.

Into the picture comes Zac Echola, whose blog I have started reading recently and who has some very down-to-earth thoughts on all of this. In catching up on some of his posts, I found two very good ones I'd point you to.
Now you may never have to put a weather alert on a page or parse a feed and extract -- and then display - another piece for information. You might never need a map with your story. And you probably wouldn't be asked to draw it and save it and get it online, even if it was needed. But wouldn't it be cool to know a quick and dirty way to do it, to know what those "Web" folks are talking about when they discuss some of what they're about to do -- to your story?

And even if you don't have mad programming skills, you still are going to have to be able, in the future, to discuss with others in the newsroom the online possibilities, so it doesn't hurt to know the jargon and a little bit how to do it quick and dirty.

This is what I'm trying to produce -- young reporters and editors who know enough at least to converse intelligently in a multimedia newsroom. Echola shows that it's pretty easy to do in this Web 2.0 world where the operative word is "share."

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At 6/18/08, 4:42 PM, Anonymous wsi consultants said...

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