Well, in the Star newsroom we've done a lot of training on Twitter over the years. We have offered sessions at a Twitter 101 basic level as well as advanced, often with the expert users training the beginners. As a result, many reporters live-tweet from news events without prompting.
At Digital First, we are big fans of the ScribbleLive Training Wiki. You folks provide great training, Miles.
We've done several of the Scribble trainings, too, and learned a lot.
I include some aspect of live coverage in most of my newsroom visits, either in a formal workshop or individual coaching or both.
As important as training is, the best way to learn live coverage is to try it with some routine events. Then you'll have sharp skills for when the big story breaks or the big event comes to town.
We're fans of both the Scribble trainings and the free or inexpensive webinars offered by Poynter. We've also encouraged staffers to take advantage of webinars offered by Newspapers Canada.
So, learn by doing seems to be the way to go.
Our training tends to be one-on-one, based on how tech-savvy people are. We have a newsroom full of years of experience, but sometimes people are intimidated when asked to tweet photos or videos. They think it will be hard. They just need someone to show them how easy it is.
In line with that Teryl, we have an audience question from Dana Lacey.
I should note that Star staffers aren't required to live-tweet events but highly encouraged. If someone's new to it, we might encourage them to tweet from a minor event to start. Then when big news breaks they feel comfortable.
Good question, Dana: The best way to help a reporter make the leap to digital is to show him or her how digital tools can help you do better journalism. It's all about good journalism and old-school reporters love good stories.
I agree with Steve. Everyone is motivated by doing good journalism. Sometimes, we have to make the case that the digital work isn't added value -- it's part of our everyday expectations now. Dana, that's where I think one-on-one training can be helpful. They can ask questions without feeling bad. Once they start doing it, they tend to like the interaction and followers. They get a comfort level.
A strategy that has worked with print reporters (old-school or otherwise): I point out that their work can reach a much wider audience if they use real-time digital tools to tell their stories.
When they see a story go viral, that makes for converts.
I agree with Teryl! Show them the numbers. I find the Scribblelive blog stats to be great for that.
Entice with great stories and reach-- that makes sense
Now let's talk about reporters at the other end of the spectrum: what do you look for when hiring interns or junior reporters? Are real-time skills must-haves?
Real-time skills help you get a job or an internship, but if you're willing to learn, they aren't a must-have.
I don't hire staff but I have been on the hiring committee for our Radio Room interns. The Radio Roomers monitor police scanners and cover breaking news. Their ability to file quickly and accurately while juggling multiple stories is key to being successful in the job.
Having real-time skills shows you're already there. While they aren't hard to learn, it makes a difference when hiring because an editor wants his/her job to be easier. Having someone coming in, already knowing how to do it and having a positive attitude about it -- that all makes a difference.
In line with that, a question for Steve from Twitter
Good question, Katy. Twitter proved itself useful to journalists five or six years ago. I worry about the mindset of a journalist who still is not using Twitter, however good an old-school reporter he or she is.
That reporter is going to get his or her ass kicked on a major story soon (if it hasn't already happened).
I'm pretty good at teaching old-school journalism skills, and I think I can have an excellent digital journalist faster working with someone who's willing to learn than with someone who's resisting learning.
I'm not going to name names, Katy, but I have seen excellent experienced journalists hold themselves back because they are unwilling to use new tools.
And I've seen pretty good journalists blossom into excellent journalists because they are eager to learn.
I'd rather have a journalist on the way up working for me than one on the way down, even if the declining on is right now at a higher altitude.