Last Thursday, Cision once again had the pleasure of being involved in journalism.co.uk‘s news:rewired conference . It was my first chance to attend the event, and as a former journalism student it was great for me to see where some of the profession’s brightest and best see it heading.
And that seems to be toward an ever-broader skillset. The “digital production desk” panel – Michael De Monte (ScribbleLive), Jonathan Richards (The Times), Martin Stabe (FT.com) and Vicky Taylor (Channel 4) – probably provided the most comprehensive argument for journalists (and therefore PRs) to keep expanding their horizons. Today’s newsrooms are about so much more than sourcing and writing stories: there’s design, community management, live blogging, social media promotion, as well as the more technical aspects of SEO discussed in detail during Malcolm Coles’s afternoon masterclass.
(It’s worth noting that number of these tasks were identified in Cision’s European journalist surveys earlier this year – and that some of the others are likely to form the basis of next year’s survey. Watch this space.)
Unsurprisingly, much of the day was spent working out how to pay for all these new skills. In that light, the ability to mine and profitably interpret data could be the single most important element for news organisations, and as such was a major component in a couple of other standout talks, from the FT’s Mary Beth Christie and The Times’ Joanna Geary.
Geary, who is community manager for TimesOnline, provided an opening keynote that went behind The Times’s notorious paywall. It’s clear that her role is at the heart of the paywall strategy – without drive-by search traffic, the site will only work if it can maintain community loyalty. If the job title sounds a little fluffy, the reality is far from it – rewarding readers involves the kind of targeting that’s only achievable through serious data-mining and detailed analytics.
Big thanks to all the speakers, and to Laura, Jon, Jonny and all at journalism.co.uk for putting on another great event. Seasonal best wishes to all those involved too – and to you, gentle reader.
See you in 2011.