Adam Gaffin gave us useful advice on how to face the challenges that await us as journalists that have to deal with a new context in the media industry.
And who better than him to talk about it. He’s a professional traditional journalist and at the same time an entrepreneurial multimedia journalist, which sounds complicated but basically just means that he figured out a way to keep up with new technological tools and incorporated them to his work.
Besides still working as a traditional journalist and occasionally as a citizen journalist, he’s the creator of the website Universal Hub, a unique project in Boston. It is hard to believe that, if it wasn’t for Gaffinn’s blog , there would be no other way to find out what people in Boston are writing about. It acts as a database of Boston blogs. And the success of Universal Hub is proven by the 3500 people that visit the blog every weekday.
Most stories one finds in Universal Hub depends mainly on Adam’s criterion, since he acts as an editor choosing the stories from different blogs that attract him for his personal interest. Through Universal Hub many bloggers get traffic and make contacts that otherwise they probably would not get.
It is also a social network and a local news source, one of the strengths of citizen journalism and online blogging considering that traditional media don’t cover these stories that matter to communities. Gaffin gives an example of it “I was going to a meeting and cars were not moving. I figured something happened, I got off my car and found out two kids shot each other. The next day there was no coverage of that event in the mainstream media”.
But Gaffin also speaks about the difficulties of online journalism and blogging. He says in past years traditional media’s journalists did not know nor care about advertising in their newspapers. That changed now, especially for independent online journalists that start a project like Universal Hub. He speaks about the importance of being a sales person. It is not enough to have a good product, one also has to figure out what is the niche market for the product, what or who will be the product’s competition, get a good team of people that works for the project and of course figure out a way to pay them and yourself.
So once again we find out it is not easy out there. Personally I love challenges and I believe this is for sure one of the toughest moments for the journalism profession. The key as Gaffin says is to “be prepared for a lot of hard work”. Thanks for the advice Adam, I’ll definitely take it. Let’s just hope it doesn’t get any worse.