Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tune in for tomorrow

Several of your cousins are at the Knight Digital Media Center in L.A. this week for workshops entitled “Transforming News Organizations for the Digital Now.’’ The program looks rich and deep.

And you can follow alongwith the proceedings via Michele McLellan's blog on the event. Tune in when you can.


  1. Anonymous10:15 AM

    Wow, another conference to talk about what newspapers should do to meet the financial and journalistic challenges of the Internet today. I am on tenterhooks waiting to hear what they say.
    Meantime, in the real world, MNI stock continues to decline and management does nothing. A the pace it is losing value, we are between 12 and 15 trading sessions of MNI hitting $1.50 and being delisted. I harp on this point to underline the urgency of making changes, not out of any glee as someone previous contended. The price of MNI stock is something very dear to the heart of MNI executives, and it is a barometer of what Wall Street thinks of the ability of current management to meet industry changes. But convening more cosmic conferences and discussions with "experts" about what we need to do just shows that management hasn't got a clue of what is needed. More meetings _ and God knows how executives love to call meetings _ isn't providing the answers.
    Howard, you get paid the big bucks to come up with answers. Do something.

  2. Anonymous11:20 AM

    The link is broken.

  3. Anonymous1015:

    A. McClatchy never equips or trains employees to manage in the new media arena;

    B. McClatchy is wasting time sending editors and online leaders to hands-on digital workshops.

    Please pick one and stick to it.

  4. Anonymous3:35 PM

    actually howard in response to your comment above: I have asked SEVERAL times to attend training conferences for internet/multimedia training and the answer to me and all the other staffers who have asked the same thing is "there is no money in the budget for training". so there you have it. now maybe if you wanna share some of the loot you have in your travel budget those of us who ACTUALLY are in the trenches trying to save the S.S. McClatchy could get sufficient training to right this listing behemoth.......

  5. Anonymous7:02 PM

    Howard, I will take A & B together. I'll also ask you now to look at any one of the MNI Web sites. Doesn't it strike you how awkward and dead they read? Read the newspaper side-by-side with the Internet version and you should see what I mean. The newspapers are lively and alive. That is because the Internet sites are a second thought or an exhausted afterthought to the print product. This in spite of all the effort to train people in the new media. I think your training operations contribute to this outcome, so I also agree with "McClatchy is wasting time sending editors and online leaders to hands-on digital workshops." Did you ever ask yourself what happens when these "editors and online leaders" return to their newspapers after these conferences end? Do they share all the insights they got? Of course not. Their special training makes them part of the MNI club that says it is indispensible to MNI's future. One of the rules of the club is that once in, others should be kept out -- an attitude that will become more widspread in an era of layoffs when only a fool would voluntarily make himself/herself dispensible. What anon335 said is true: those who are willing to attend these special conferences (and often they are key newsroom personnel) are brushed off on the grounds their office presence is needed, or there is no travel money, or the geek is going, or whatever.

  6. Anonymous9:14 PM

    anon@335: Stop whining, fuck McClatchy, it's YOUR career. Get off your ass and teach yourself something.

    Actually, no, wait on that. You just keep waiting for someone to send you to training so that when the next layoff comes dead weight like you can go out with the trash and the self-starters who remain can get on with making great products.

  7. Anonymous9:34 PM

    Anom914...that wasn't whining. all of us are learning on our own. what I was trying to get across was upper management (howard and the like) are all about everyone learning new skills but don't want to invest anything into it. if YOU don't understand or grasp that concept I feel really sorry for you. and as far as "dead weight"....don't know who you are or if you even are in the chain....I imagine you've probably been tossed into the landfill already and are just striking out.....oh...wait...I made a funny....you're a strike out...

  8. Anonymous7:22 AM

    There are any number of people -- who Howard seems to endorse, unfortunately -- who have this "if you don't know how to do x online already, too bad, because you should have figured it out for yourself by now" attitude.

    Anon914 is only the latest variation on that theme. This allows a few petty souls posting here to feel especially smug and superior, and it allows management to delay training even longer.

    Notice to Anon914 and his arrogant techie brethren: I doubt you can do my job, either. The difference is, I don't expect you to.

  9. Anonymous7:41 AM

    Among the several valid points that Anon702 makes, this is especially true. MNI websites are dead and dull. But why?

    I've heard Howard say more than once that we don't have to invent anything, but we need to steal the best of what's out there, incorporate it into our sites and move on.

    OK, so why aren't we doing that? If we agree that the New York Times site is the best, why aren't we just copying it? Is that so hard? Does it really require special training to do that? I think all it requires is Howard to tell every publisher and executive editor in the company to do it, pronto.

    Yet we're not. At the Bee, the damn site isn't even navigable. It's ugly. It's tacky. Finding a particular story is impossible. What readers want to read is almost always buried.

    And the redesign is still up in the air. Despite the urgency of the mission, we languish. Multiply that across MNI, and here we are.

    We make it impossible for readers to find what they want, and then we come one here and argue with each other about who's to blame for a lack of tech training.

    You know what? Training isn't going to solve the problem.

  10. Anonymous7:56 AM

    Screw you, techies. You spend all day long playing on your computers, and prancing around as princes, while reporters are out in the field gathering information and writing stories, and editors are dealing with the load of editing, contexting and display of what reporters find. So now we all are asked to take on another load of understanding the latest Internet vaporware, which we may or may not have to use (Youtube). Reporters and editors aren't paid to be geeks, and quite frankly, I really don't care how computers work because I have a life, I am not in love with the technology, and I have a shitload of other things to do my job. Yet when we ask for help with some new killer ap, we get some snarky reponse about how we need to quit whining and bothering the techies, and learn it ourselves. Screw you.

  11. Anonymous9:10 AM

    Look at the research center Web site:
    and compare with any MNI newspaper site, and tell me why can't the newspaper sites be as interesting and easy for readers to use? Our newspaper readers don't see the research site and anon741 is absolutely correct about the Sacramento Bee disaster.
    Also, should we just settle on one MNI Website look, and employ it uniformly company-wide? That might reduce the techie payroll and keep more reporters on the street.

  12. Anonymous10:07 AM

    I have a technie for the layoff list when you are ready.

  13. To mangle a William Gibson quote: The knowledge is already here. It's just not very evenly distributed.

    Setting aside the "who" of travel and budget, if "you" aren't traveling to a conference, surely, there's time to invest in a few brown bags to talk Web stuff with the interactive folks in the newsroom, be it video, audio, Google maps or filing them in on what your job as a beat reporter is like.

    I know the N&O's newsroom has had great brown bags before, open to outside depts., too.

    The same should be expected of people going to conferences. Present a brown bag on what the gist was, share conference notes/materials, etc.

  14. Anonymous10:26 AM

    @Anon756 - I care about how computers work and have a wonderful, angst-free life.

    But why do we waste time having these pointless discussions about which type of employee should get laid off? It's not productive.

    Techies should do more to understand journalists and vice versa. And sooner, rather than later, there should be no differentiation between the two.

  15. Hey 7:56. "News and information" is no longer about just the story. What you do is only a PART of what we need done today. You may not like it, but that doesn't change it.

    Look at the traffic numbers. Databases and interactive pieces are becoming just as (if not more) important than the story narrative. Yes the story is still important, but it is no longer the pinnacle of Journalism. That roll is now shared among all the media the web can support in addition to the web-specific forms and formats (or "techie stuff" to some).

    For Sacbee people who want to see the new design, come by my desk. I'll happily show the mockups with you and would be interested in hearing your opinions -- but only if you're willing to listen to mine.

  16. I second Nathan. Here in Fresno we offer a TON of brown bags for training purposes. And anyone who does get to go to off-site training is tasked with making sure they lead a brown bag when they get back.

    We have good participation and it seems to have helped a lot. We make an effort to make sure we offer classes on different days and at different times so everyone gets a chance to attend. Classes are led by anyone in the newsroom. Reporters talk about their experience with tech, editors talk about how to edit a great story, I just demo'ed the online project management system we use (Basecamp, anyone?). We shoot for at least one class a week.

    But training isn't just about getting someone to lead you through how to use something. It can be getting some time to read a book or to explore a site. It can be time to make some phone calls and ask questions or it can be time to participate in online training like what's offered at NewsU.

    Also, I know some conferences offer reduced fees or free entry if you volunteer to work at part of the conference. Lead a class or two and then sit in on the rest of the conference, if you can.

    BTW, it'd be helpful if you say which Bee you're from, since there's 3 of us.

  17. Anonymous12:22 PM

    a little off topic but I find the ad (MICROFINANCE EMPOWERS) on this page hilarious....is it aimed at us mcclatchy company store folks?

  18. Anonymous2:57 PM

    Innovators can be irritating. Especially to fans of the status quo.

  19. Anonymous5:58 PM

    This is exactly the unhelpful, arrogant kind of attitude we're talking about, Anon257. Good for you for feeling so superior. Big man.