Monday, June 14, 2010

Hurray for Adrenalin...

...because I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have made it through the day without it, and especially through the disaster coverage simulation. What a stimulating and interesting day!

Milton Coleman is quite the cool-headed veteran of the legacy newspaper business, and it was pure pleasure hearing him talk about the foundational ideas (read: changes) that the newspaper business is grappling with today. He talked a fair bit about immediacy, and the nature of breaking news and how it's now handled by newspapers and their online products. For newspapers, that adjustment to real time coverage has been an incredible paradigm shift, and the new reality that the daily deadline is now a moving target is world-changing for that medium. It's the same sort of paradigm shift that CNN sparked in 1980 when they went on air with that wacky Ted Turner idea of 24/7 news coverage. But let's not forget the humble beginnings of live, breaking news coverage in real time -- radio. I won't go on and on, but in 1975, I could (and did) file stories in minutes, including sound bites, using only a tape recorder, a phone and a cord with a mini-plug on one end and alligator clips on the other.

What to take from that comparison between the old and the new? For me, it's that regardless of how fancy our toys get, how much technology and gee-whiz gizmos we insert into our stories, it truly comes down to asking the right questions, putting the pieces together, and telling it all in a coherent and succinct way, and doing it responsibly and with honor for the craft and respect for the audience. And that's what I realized today about this institute: I want to re-learn it for myself and, more importantly, learn how to impart these fundamental ideas to my students.

Leslie Wolfe-Cundiff
Centennial H.S.
Roswell, Ga.

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