A long time, in the world of journalism, means precious little.
When I entered the business at the turn of the century, I was told to expect change. Throughout college, my professors warned that local TV news and newspapers were dying; web sites predicted the Internet would take over; and no one could confidently say what the media landscape would look like in ten years.
Ten years have since come and gone, and change has indeed taken place. Journalists can now expect to spend a sizable chunk of time updating Twitter and Facebook accounts; they can expect to post their work on the web before it ever appears on the air or in print; and they can expect to be regularly asked to do more with less.
My personal career trajectory reflects some of these changes. I entered the industry as a one-man sports department in Sioux City, Iowa (check out the opening credits), began gravitating to the news side in Buffalo, N.Y., and now serve as a full-time news reporter for 11Alive in Atlanta, Georgia. Part of this was personal – I gradually developed a wide variety of professional interests and did not want to limit my stories to the field of athletics. But part was a response to the changing landscape. Local sports coverage has declined considerably in all media over the past decade, while teams have exerted greater control over their products, muddying the waters for any sports journalist. Ultimately I saw greater opportunities to flourish and do powerful journalism as a news reporter.
As media change, though, one thing remains constant: storytelling.
I have heard the following adage more than a few times: “If you can tell a good story, you will work forever in this business.” I believe that statement; ultimately, journalism is about knowing to connect with others. Whatever the story, a journalist – or anyone, for that matter – has to know how to best reach his or her audience; if the audience does not care, the story will not make an impact.
To that end, I decided to start this blog: a continuing look at how we tell stories. I will offer commentary, links to great stories, reflections on deeper issues, and thoughts on my own work. I am excited to hear your thoughts, as well. If you see or read a great story, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
Mostly, I look forward to seeing how this blog will evolve over time. Just as I could not have anticipated my career path a decade ago, I cannot possibly predict the direction this blog will take, depending on feedback and the media landscape itself.
But I am excited to tackle the concept of storytelling. It is the one part of journalism that is not going anywhere.