Reporter’s guide to multimedia proficiency (RGMP 1)

As promised in my last blog post, I’m going to offer some guidance for journalists who are ready to learn how to transform themselves into multimedia journalists. I think there will be 15 parts, of which this is the first. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while might not learn much that is new to you, but even so, maybe this series will put things into clearer perspective for you.

If you are a journalist (or journalism student) who feels like you need to catch up and upgrade your skills, I suggest that you do more than simply read these posts. Put the advice into use immediately — the same day, if possible. Don’t wait! (You’ve waited long enough already.)

Part 1: Read blogs and use RSS

Even if you are already reading blogs regularly, I urge you to add some blogs that are not strictly about journalism or news. Two that I recommend strongly:

  • Mashable: If you were one of the last people to hear about Twitter, or you still don’t know how Facebook works, then reading this frequently updated news blog will put you into the loop. All the Web 2.0 and social networking trends, tools, and sites are covered here.
  • ReadWriteWeb: Although this blog is similar to Mashable (and they are often redundant), you will find some good stuff here that Mashable will not have — NYTimes Exposes 2.8 Million Articles in New API, for example. (Twitter was all a-tweet about this yesterday.)

Why? Because you will better understand how (and why) the media world around us is changing if you stay up-to-date on the changes. People who understand what is happening are less likely to become road kill.

You certainly don’t have to read every post closely. But scanning these posts daily will definitely help you become more savvy about digital media, online and mobile.

Using an RSS reader

If you have not started using an RSS reader yet, please do that right away! Our former student Megan Taylor wrote a very clear, simple introduction to RSS. I suggest that you give no thought to which RSS reader you should try — just start with Google Reader. It’s free, easy to use, and ubiquitous. This video gives you a one-minute tour of how it works:

If that’s not enough for you, then learn “how to use Google Reader like a rock star” — from a post at Mashable.

Why take the time to set up and learn to use Google Reader? First and foremost, it’s 100 times more efficient than using your browser bookmarks (or favorites). It’s like your customized Page One, ready for you on any computer with Internet access, at home or at work, and even on your phone. It’s better than an aggregate of all the wire services — because YOU set it up to bring you what YOU want.

How to find blogs that are worth your time

Of the millions of blogs that are updated frequently, only a few are really going to help you become smarter about the changing landscape of journalism — or your own beat, or your local community. Generally one good blog leads to another. Just look at the blogroll — the list of blog links in the sidebar. This blog has one. Almost every blog has one. Try a  blog out before you add it to Google Reader. Be selective. Your time is valuable.

If you want a place to start sampling, try Best of the Journalism Blogs, from

Update (Nov. 3, 2009): Mark Luckie of 10,000 Words posted a great tutorial yesterday — The Beginner’s Guide to RSS.

24 Comments on “Reporter’s guide to multimedia proficiency (RGMP 1)

  1. Pingback: Teaching Online Journalism » RGMP 2: Start a blog

  2. Pingback: More tips for journalists on new media « Save the Media

  3. Pingback: Teaching Online Journalism » RGMP 5: Listen to podcasts

  4. Pingback: Teaching Online Journalism » RGMP 6: Post an interview (or podcast) on your blog

  5. Pingback: It’s not the tools, but how you use them « Ink-Drained Kvetch

  6. Pingback: Teaching Online Journalism » RGMP 7: Learn how to shoot decent photos

  7. Pingback: Teaching Online Journalism » RGMP 8: Learn how to crop, tone, and optimize photos

  8. Pingback: Why all journalists should use syndicated feeds « Christopher Wink

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  10. Pingback: Teaching Online Journalism » RGMP 9: Add photos to your blog

  11. Pingback: Becoming a Multimedia Journalist « Boxer541

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  13. Pingback: Teaching Online Journalism » RGMP 11: Tell a good story with images and sound

  14. Pingback: Being TOO social on social media, especially Twitter « Breanna Gaddie | Photojournalist

  15. Pingback: Teaching Online Journalism » RGMP 12: Learn to shoot video

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  18. Pingback: Teaching Online Journalism » RGMP 13: Edit your video with iMovie or Windows Movie Maker

  19. Pingback: Teaching Online Journalism » RGMP 14: Publish your video on your blog

  20. Pingback: Teaching Online Journalism » RGMP 15: Maintain and update your skills

  21. Pingback: Weekend assignment: Learn RSS « The Future of Journalism

  22. Pingback: How much reading will there be in this course? « New Media and a Democratic Society

  23. Pingback: Syllabus | MSU Online Newsroom

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