If the boat is leaking, learn how to swim

Had a chat with an acquaintance who now lives and works in another part of the country. He’s a long-time radio news guy and he called to get my advice on how his newsroom can better take advantage of "new media" (which ain’t that new anymore).

As he talked about his newsroom and the company he works for (a good one), it became clear there was no clear direction for making the transition from Old Media to New Media. And unlikely to be one. So what can he do?

First, what he cannot do. He probably cannot change (or provide) the larger online strategy his company needs.

But he can begin learning the skills he needs to survive. In no particular order:

  • Start blogging (any topic)  This includes reading other blogs
  • Start using an RSS news reader
  • Set up a twitter page (get a grasp of social networking)
  • Get a smart phone and learn how to use it (see above)
  • Keep a small digital (still/video) camera on his person at all times
  • Get a YouTube and flickr account and start using them. (any subject)
  • Begin the process of creating your brand

To an old radio dog, all of this sounds like a lot more work than it really is. But here’s the question I posed to my friend:

If your current job went away overnight, what would you do? Try to get a job at another radio station? A newspaper? TV station?

What kind of skills to you think they’re looking for these days? Will it be enough to give them a cassette tape of your best work? Maybe a list of the RTNDA awards you’ve won?

The skills he learned in J-school are important. His many years of "radio" experience are valuable. But it’s a new game, that demands new skills. You got ’em or you don’t.

One thought on “If the boat is leaking, learn how to swim

  1. That one hit me between the eyes! You’re dead on bullseye, Steve. (Crap! note to self: buy a twitter!)

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