Megan Taylor

front-end dev, volunteacher, news & data junkie, bibliophile, Flyers fan, sci-fi geek and kitteh servant

Ducks go quack, quack, cows go moo

I don’t remember the rest of the song. But that’s what was playing in my head while I read Steve Klein’s “Revenge of the ‘Web People.'” He’s writing about definitions and how “print people” and “Web people” need to be just “journalists.”

Klein argues against the concept that “Web people” are somehow inferior to “print people.”

Online journalists must have all the skills of print and broadcast journalists, as well as digital production skills. They need a far more diverse skill set than journalists who work in vertical disciplines. They must have horizontal skill sets that they then practice on an online platform.
So, any hint that an online journalist is less capable or less qualified than a print or broadcast journalist is just plain wrong and unfair. It really ruffles my feathers (do ducks have feathers?)!

I recently found out that my position at The Alligator was created after a series of editors tried to do away with the Web site completely (in the early to mid-1990s). It apparently diverted important resources from the “real paper.” Think where we’d be now if they had taken the Web seriously!

Back to my point. One of the things that pisses me off the most about the gulf between print and online is how one-sided it seems to be. I read the paper. In both mediums. I care about the paper. In both mediums. I can write and edit just as well as I can create a Google map, edit audio, or design a Web site. I just happen to work in the online department because of the linear structure of the newsroom.

Don’t pigeonhole me just because I can do some things you don’t understand. I enjoy all of the aspects of being a journalist – from finding and reporting a story to producing a Web package. Let me learn all that I can, I’ll bet you learn a few things too.

  • It’s just an extension of the design crowd referring to others as “word people.” The designers are sensitive because they’re not really journalists, and their efforts have been a colossal failure across the board in terms of circulation and credibility decline, so they have to find ways to feel relevant.

  • It’s just an extension of the design crowd referring to others as “word people.” The designers are sensitive because they’re not really journalists, and their efforts have been a colossal failure across the board in terms of circulation and credibility decline, so they have to find ways to feel relevant.

  • I’ve seen you post a lot on journalism blogs, and you seem very anti-design and negative. Do you think you can make your point in a less abrasive manner? I think this is an issue that has nothing to do with design, and more to do with the inherent culture of a newsroom. Also, I am a Web designer, so that doesn’t really correlate.

  • I’ve seen you post a lot on journalism blogs, and you seem very anti-design and negative. Do you think you can make your point in a less abrasive manner? I think this is an issue that has nothing to do with design, and more to do with the inherent culture of a newsroom. Also, I am a Web designer, so that doesn’t really correlate.

  • I have to resist the temptation by others to pigeon hole me as just a technical person. I have a journalism degree, and have been published in many newspapers.

    Just because I can write CSS, record and edit audio, build a slideshow, etc, doesn’t mean I can’t do traditional journalism. In fact, if I couldn’t do traditional journalism well, I probably wouldn’t be able to do multimedia journalism well.

    I think it’s a natural reaction for people with less skills to try to brand Web folks as “just techies,” who aren’t “real journalists.” It happens all the time at my job. It’s sad really.

    The modern journalist should have multiple skill sets.

  • I have to resist the temptation by others to pigeon hole me as just a technical person. I have a journalism degree, and have been published in many newspapers.

    Just because I can write CSS, record and edit audio, build a slideshow, etc, doesn’t mean I can’t do traditional journalism. In fact, if I couldn’t do traditional journalism well, I probably wouldn’t be able to do multimedia journalism well.

    I think it’s a natural reaction for people with less skills to try to brand Web folks as “just techies,” who aren’t “real journalists.” It happens all the time at my job. It’s sad really.

    The modern journalist should have multiple skill sets.

  • Pat – agreed. I was told in a job interview that I did not have enough “news experience” – whatever that means, because my clips include more multimedia than text.

  • Pat – agreed. I was told in a job interview that I did not have enough “news experience” – whatever that means, because my clips include more multimedia than text.

  • The attitude that people who get the web are somehow less qualified or not true journalists seems an extension of the “journalists don’t do math” kind of thinking.

    How did it get to be a badge of honor to be bad at something? How does anybody get credit for such an arrogant refusal to learn anything new?

  • The attitude that people who get the web are somehow less qualified or not true journalists seems an extension of the “journalists don’t do math” kind of thinking.

    How did it get to be a badge of honor to be bad at something? How does anybody get credit for such an arrogant refusal to learn anything new?

  • I started to comment, but it turned into a near-endless rant, so I moved it my blog: http://www.greglinch.com/2008/01/journalists-arent-just-reporters.html

    In short, I agree with Megan, Pat and Chris.

  • I started to comment, but it turned into a near-endless rant, so I moved it my blog: http://www.greglinch.com/2008/01/journalists-arent-just-reporters.html

    In short, I agree with Megan, Pat and Chris.

  • …moved it TO my blog.

    Sorry, it’s late and I’m still in the office after deadline and all the copy editors left. I blame the sports editor, who’s also still here.

    No excuse though.

  • …moved it TO my blog.

    Sorry, it’s late and I’m still in the office after deadline and all the copy editors left. I blame the sports editor, who’s also still here.

    No excuse though.

  • Thanks Greg. And I am a firm believer that late nights are only an excuse if accompanied by a caffeine shortage.

  • Thanks Greg. And I am a firm believer that late nights are only an excuse if accompanied by a caffeine shortage.

  • I was craving a much-needed iced green tea from the convenience store downstairs.

  • I was craving a much-needed iced green tea from the convenience store downstairs.

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