"Tweeting" shop, holding the door open and @andymboyle's roadshow "journo" revival

Published 2011-08-11

Typing this sitting next to a lime tree at a campground in Big Sur, where -- I have to say -- the time to sit and ponder the world while looking at the Pacific Ocean for the first time has been fantastic. As such, can't add too many sleek online formatting features...


Talking shop is one of the fine newspaper traditions, those hours you would spend with co-workers chatting about this and that related to journalism, using Adobe Pagemaker vs. Quark 3.1 and the art of the proportional wheel and pica pole.

The conversation would ultimately dissolve into tales of wine, women and song, but you left feeling the answers to the great questions of the day were in reach, and that if you all could just have some time away from the daily tasks and deadlines, you'd be able to achieve the great miracle.

Over the last four weeks -- as part of the Mozilla-Knight Journalism Learning Lab -- a whole lot of talking shop took place with lab participants and lecturers who are doing some really smart things. And over the course of the lab, these have turned into "colleagues", "co-workers" and "co-conspirators."

And for about the last seven months or so, I've started to "Tweet" shop with others who have been for years. I've tried to introduce myself to as many "colleagues", "co-workers" and "co-conspirators" as possible; those folks who have been planning and plotting and teaching and learning on Twitter; those who are leading the way and "championing" the coming Journalism renaissance.

We're all in the same boat I think, just working to find a little corner of the world where we can get down to the job of doing the things that we know we can do.

I guess it's that sense that caused me to cold-tweet Luke Stangel, a journalist doing some really cool things as a co-founder of Tackable in San Jose.

It just so happened my wife and I were flying into San Jose for our vacation, and I thought why not try to talk shop. To say the resulting conversation was time very well spent is an understatement.

And it helped me realize that it's OK -- to an extent -- if I create nothing more in this world that has my name attached to it. The key is to continue to be in a position to listen to smart people, be influenced by them and their ideas and pass that knowledge and the ability to create on to others who are hungry to grow.

Already, it's an interesting place, and I've only recently arrived.

For one motivation or another, I've always been the someone who wants to "do too." It's human nature after all. But I'm seeing more and more that I can be more effective if I'm the person who can open the door so others don't have to stick their foot in it to keep it wedged open.

Like when Andy Boyle brings up the idea of starting a roadshow of journalists who'll take their knowledge to other newsrooms as a kind of traveling journo-revival.

This idea has merit on so many levels, and could take the form of a webinar, seminar, meet up, etc. But the idea of seeing traveling around to work face-to-face with others fighting the good fight is the kind of grassroots, in-the-trenches sort of tactic that could work miracles in this day of instant information.

And Mr. Boyle -- or anyone I pay attention to amnd listen to for that matter -- shouldn't have to hope to talk shop with co-workers and colleagues face-to-face.

Instead, they can focus on "[Teaching] very, very basics about how they could get into the web development game and augment their daily journalism with tools they build themselves."

It's kinda sweet to know in that in some way, shape of form there's a lot of us in the crazy world of online content development that have found a little corner of the world where we can get down to the job of doing the things that we know we can do.

It's kinda daunting to know that -- anymore -- there really aren't any excuses to not get the job done, only obstacles that can be overcome.

And it's really nice to know there are so many paths to take to get down to work and get the job done.