My first day on the job as a "news resourcer" at the Ifra Newsplex at the University of South Carolina wasn't exactly a glamorous introduction into multimedia. Rather, it was an exercise in dust and necessity crawling under tables and trying to bring a sense or order to the various cords and cables of our 10 laptop work stations. First things first, I learned.
I thought I was jumping the fence and leaving journalism behind when I enrolled in USC's library and information science master's program in August 2001. But, as it turned out, in January 2003, the Newsplex drew me back in with the opportunity to combine my journalism background with my new degree. The facility, built with money from a consortium of media and publishing companies and turned over to USC's newly formed College of Mass Communications and Information Studies, is a state-of-the-art micro-newsroom that specializes in research and training for media convergence. Convergent journalism brings together all media types (essentially print, online, broadcast and mobile), ideally to better deliver the news by relying on the strengths of each medium and sharing and reworking content.
Newsplex is exploring the need for new mindsets and new roles in changing newsrooms, and one of the positions is a "news resourcer," a journalist who incorporates much of the expertise of the library/information science, as well as technology, training and facilitation across departments and media components. On a larger scale, the position represents the opportunity to bring a Chief Information Officer to the newsroom; on a smaller scale, it recognizes the need for an everyday reporter/writer whose journalistic news judgment is complemented by the deep searching skills of a librarian and the knowledge/data management experience of an information specialist/architect.
In this role, I have:
What drew me to journalism the opportunity to wear many hats, to be surprised and challenged daily is what also excites me about working at Newsplex. No different than in journalism or librarianship, there seems to more and more to do and not enough time to do it. But it makes for interesting work and ensures that no two days are exactly alike.
As a former copy editor and designer, I was usually on the back end of the information- and news-gathering process. As a fledgling librarian, I am admittedly inexperienced. These disadvantages will be offset, I hope, by an open mind, few preconceived notions and a willingness to embrace change. One of my goals is to visit as many news operations as possible, to learn and to share what I've learned. As a university employee, with a limited budget, this will be a challenge. However, I hope in the coming months to be able to distribute a survey that assesses to some degree that gray area of journalism and librarianship, if not scientifically, than at least anecdotally. I'm also hoping to condense my research on "news resourcing" into something that may be of interest to industry publications. I would welcome thoughts, comments and experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Newsplex, visit http://www.newsplex.org/home.shtml.
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Last Update: 08/03/03
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