Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Veronis Suhler Stevenson Study Offers Industry Check-up

Back in 2000, the company I worked for was bought by New York-based Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS), a private equity firm that focuses on the information, education and media industries.

Ever since, I have followed what the company has done with interest. One of the things VSS does is a 10-year study looking at growth patterns in the communications industry. The study came up with four observations:

  • Institutional End User And Alternative Media Growing As Traditional Media Advertising Declines
  • Institutional End-User Spending Expected To Remain Largest, Fastest Growing Sector –5.6% Future Annual Spending Gain Driven By Business Information Services And For-Profit Higher Education
  • Communications Will Be The 3rd Fastest-Growing Economic Sector Going Forward, Rising From the 4th Position
  • Communications Industry Forecast To Decline 1% in 2009, But To Grow Faster Than GDP In ‘09 And Over Next 5 Years
  • Marketing Services Spending To Grow 3.4% Annually, Primarily In Alternative Marketing Segments
The VSS study predicted that total communications spending will decline 1% in 2009 to $882.6 billion, but grow 3.6% per year over the next five years to more than $1 trillion, making communications the third fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy over that period. Segments driven by end-user spending and targeted marketing services are gaining even as traditional advertising is shrinking.

This is no surprise to any of us in the business, but the study found that 2008 and 2009 witnessed a major shift in the spending patterns in the communications industry as advertising became the smallest of the four major sectors in 2008 -- a first for advertising since VSS began tracking the industry in 1986.

“While this period culminated a decade-long trend away from traditional advertising vehicles and towards institutional and consumer end-user spending and marketing services, it also highlighted the emergence of institutional and consumer communications as the dominant sectors in U.S. communications spending,” said the study.

The current challenges facing the industry are largely the result of the current cyclical economic downturn, which is exacerbating the impact of structural and secular changes already underway, said the report.

“Over the five-year forecast period, 12 of the 20 major industry segments are expected to show positive growth, with the most challenged segments clustered in traditional advertising,” it said. “However, the long term secular demand for information, education and entertainment will continue, and the bright spot for advertising going forward will be in digital and other alternative and targeted advertising businesses.”

I thought the chart below sums up the current status of the industry nicely:

“The prolonged economic downturn has accelerated changes already underway in the communications industry. Notwithstanding significant declines in traditional media, the industry taken as a whole will continue to show relatively solid performance compared to the overall economy,” said Jim Rutherfurd, Executive Vice President and Managing Director at VSS. “These changes are driven by a confluence of factors – primarily the growth of digital end-user businesses and the shift from broad reach traditional advertising to targeted alternative advertising and marketing services.”

We are all watching as the segments and sub segments that are shrinking continue the struggle to adapt in a world that is rapidly moving toward the growth parts of the business. According to the Paper Cuts blog, we’ve lost more than 13,000 people to layoffs and buyouts. And there’s more pressure on those who remain as the industry continues to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Journalism Online Signs Up Newspapers, But Offers No Names

Back in April, I did my first post on Journalism Online LLC. The venture is the brainchild of Steven Brill, founder of Court TV, American Lawyer and Brill's Content; Gordon Crovitz, a former publisher of The Wall Street Journal; and Leo Hindery Jr., who led communications companies like Tele-Communications Inc., Global Crossing and the YES Network.

The partners want to allow publishers the Holy Grail in the news business now: the ability to charge for online content. With Journalism Online, a reader would go to a member newspaper to read a story on its web site. After the reader reached a certain point, Journalism Online would step in and ask for payment to see more of a story.

For those readers who read at many different web sites, you'd go directly to Journalism Online's web site and pay a one time fee -- Brill said $15 a month -- to read an unlimited amount of stories. Again, I'm all for models that help monetize the content we all work hard to get and get paid to produce.

The big question is how the venture would get newspapers interested in what they’re offering. It appears that interest is out there, as PaidContent.org reports that Journalism Online “has letters of intent from newspaper publishers representing 506 newspapers, magazine and leading global news sites.” But none of the names of the 506 had been published, although PaidContent.org speculated that its parent company, Guardian News & Media, is one of the signers.

“By creating a platform of flexible hybrid models for paid content that maximizes online advertising revenue while creating a new revenue stream from readers, Journalism Online has helped shift the debate over charging for online news from ‘if’ to ‘when and how,’” said Journalism Online co-founder Steven Brill in an Aug. 13 press release. “And now large numbers of publishers have moved past that abstract debate and are rolling up their sleeves to figure out with us exactly what kind of package is right for them.”

And then the Neiman Journalism Lab blog reported that Journal Communications, which publishes the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, has signed up for Journalism Online’s services. Signing with Journalism Online doesn’t necessarily mean the Journal Sentinel will decide to charge for more of its website, the blog said.

“We’re in the due diligence stage,” Sharon Prill, senior vice president for interactive media, told Neiman. “For now, it means they’ll receive consulting assistance and perhaps better technology for charging readers if they decide to go that route.”

Calls to industry players Dow Jones, McClatchy and Tribune found that none have signed up for the service yet. I'm all for models that help monetize the content we all work hard to get and get paid to produce. But here are my questions about Journalism Online:
• What incentives are there for a newspaper/online publication to participate?
• How many publications would need to participate to make the venture viable?
• How will the venture wean enough people away from the vast amount of free content out there to make money?

It will be interesting to see how this potential new revenue stream will evolve when – or if – more publications and news web sites sign on for Journalism Online’s services.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday News Roundup

Below are commentary and links to stories I thought were interesting, but not big enough to sustain a separate post.

Our good friend and multimedia maven Dr. Syb passed along this post from Fast Company: "Where are the Women in Tech and Social Media?" The article notes that gatherings in these industries tend to be filled with white men and bemoans the lack of diversity.

I have turned into a real technology/software geek, always looking for the newest and the best to be had. So I loved this post on the SocialMedia.biz blog on "Coolest power tools of some top geeks." In it, the geeks wax poetic about the tools they can't live without. Some of my personal favs are: HootSuite and Tweetdeck for Twitter, Google Blogger for this blog, Flickr to manage my more than 4,000 pictures, my Flip Video camera (I hope to be a power user like Charles Robinson when I grow up), my Belkin 5-Outlet Mini Surge Protector, my iPod Touch and Skype to record my podcasts. What can you not live without?

This story brought up some interesting questions for me, someone who has almost 5,000 photos on Flickr. The UK's Sky News was searching for a photo to use in a story about a shooting at the Waterloo Tube station, according to the Online Journalism Blog. it ended up using shots it found on Twitpic taken by Joseph Neale. The problem was, they didn't tell Neale they were doing this. Neale found out and emailed Sky News for 2 weeks about compensation, to no avail. So he posted the following Tweet:
Newscorp use your photos without permission but have plans to charge for reading their content." He used the #skypic hashtag and it was the Tweet heard 'round the world. In the end, Sky News paid Neale.

Looking to create your own new business model for the newspaper industry? Let the City University of New York (CUNY) help. CUNY's graduate school of journalism blog has an interesting post with information on those business models, along with dowloadable documents and resources to help you on your way.

Speaking of business models, the U.K.'s Financial Times is feeling vindicated over its decision back in 2002 to charge for content on its web site, according to a New York Times interview with chief executive John Ridding. “It was pretty lonely out there for a while in paid land,” he told the Times. “But it has become pretty clear that advertising alone is not going to sustain online business models. Quality journalism has to be paid for.”

Let's file this item under nature-abhors-a-vacuum: the Techdirt blog asks "But Who Will Do Investigative Reporting Without Newspapers?" Why, sites like The Smoking Gun, which nailed a group of telephone pranksters causing mayhem across the country and outing them all, said the blog.

And we'll end this post with an interesting gem from the Nieman Journalism Lab blog. Writer Zachary Stewart offers gems from a media conference on the future of journalism featuring New York Times publisher Arthur
Sulzberger, Jr. and Time magazine's Walter Isaacson. "Sulzberger indicated awareness that online competition would force newspapers to focus on unique and and in-depth reporting over easily replicable contentm" wrote Stewart. And Isaacson said: "We’ve not yet decided or announced how we’re going to charge, but we are going to charge, and I think we feel comfortable with a monthly subscription charge that involves a certain loyalty to a product, probably to a package of products initially." Why are these quotes interesting? They were made back in 1995. And Stewart notes the same issues are being argued some 14 years later.

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Let's Get Hyper(Local)!!

I have written extensively in the previous iteration of this blog about the promise -- and questions -- surrounding hyperlocal news sites. Some see them as a savior for local news as newspapers continue to slash their coverage, while other wonder how the model can make money.

So I read a post on the
PaidContent.org blog with interest. Media behemoth MSNBC has decided to dip its toe in the hyperlocal pool by buying EveryBlock, a site that uses public records to offer news in 15 cities, from Atlanta to Washington, D.C. The price paid was not revealed.

EveryBlock was created by former WashingtonPost.com reporter Adrian Holovaty, who was supported by a two-year grant from the Knight Foundation. You can read my previous post about that

Speaking of the Washington Post, it has decided to close its own effort in the hyperlocal arena, LoudonExtra, reports PaidContent.org. A spokesperson told PaidContent.org: “We found that our experiment with LoudounExtra.com as a separate site was not a sustainable model.”

A post on FastCompany.com asks "Can Anyone Tap the $100 Billion Potential of Hyperlocal News?" The article focuses on the efforts of AOL and the
New York Times to join MSNBC in the hyperlocal pool. AOL acquired the Patch hyperlocal site (my post on that is here), while the Times is "mentoring" the community web site The Local.

So now that these three hyperlocal sites have the deep pockets of MSNBC, AOL and the New York Times, it will be interesting to see if the site can make a go at it and also make some money.

Monday, August 17, 2009

12 Things Newspapers Should Do to Survive

We have been having an interesting discussion on the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force listserv. The discussion is about Rupert Murdoch announcing that his media properties will move to the paid content model by July 2010, according to Time magazine.

And like everyone else, we're trying to discuss how to monetize the current journalism model so we can all keep our jobs. So it was interesting to come
across this post from the Mashable blog - "12 Things Newspapers Should Do to Survive." You can read the list at your own leisure, but a few of the suggestions, written by Columbia University grad student Vadim Lavrusik, struck me.

Suggestion #2 - Go Niche - is something that trade and B2B publications have already been doing. He cites Politico.com as an example, but I wonder how newspapers could make that work without alienating the readers they still have left that rely on general news.

Suggestion #4 - Journalists as curators and contextualizers - is one I like, and 1 I do every day on my own company's web site. Traditional newspapers have been loath to offer links to other publications considered competitors, but what I've learned is that when I offer the link love, my competitors actually return the favor.

Suggestion #9 - Investing in mobile: E-Readers or smartphones - is another good idea. I have a Blackberry Curve smartphone and an iPod Touch, and I use them both to peruse publications including
USA Today, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. And have you seen the new iPhone NPR News app? It rocks, and will be a game changer.

Suggestions #10 and #11 - Communicating with readers and Building community - have become key for me in my work day. I reply to every comment on our blog and interact with readers on my company Twitter account (
@avweekbenet) and Aviation Week Facebook Fan Page. I also try to meet with readers at industry events to put faces to names.

I'm not saying that all these recommendations will serve as the magic wand that will instantly fix the print journalism industry. I'll end this post with some food for thought from my friends over at the Techdirt blog:
Why Newspapers Are Failing (Hint: Failure To Get Users To Pay Is NOT The Reason). Enjoy!

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Field Guide to Bags for Multimedia Journalists

In my previous job, I covered the airports and security beat. One story I covered was when the Transportation Security Administration released new parameters for laptop computer bags. With these new parameters, travelers no longer had to take laptops out of the bag when putting it through the x-ray machine.

I needed to speak to an expert on laptop bags and sent a request to Help A Reporter Out. I ended up getting great commentary from Kate Trgovac, a social media and digital marketer, president of LintBucket Media and a bag reviewer on the Skiddo web site. We became online friends and have kept in touch ever since.

When I learned that I was going to do my "Becoming a Multimedia Journalist" panel at the National Association of Black Journalists meeting last week, Kate was one of the first people I called. I wanted her to do a guest blog post with her thoughts on the best bags for multimedia journalists. For me, you would have to tear my Swiss Gear Computer Back Pack from my cold, dead hand.

So below is Kate's take on the best bags, along with photos. Enjoy!

Journalists are a varied species – and the tools of the trade they carry are just as varied. So when Benet asked me to put together some recommendations for bags for journalists, I got a little concerned. But after some field research, I’ve been able to identify these four sub-species of journalists and the bags that would be appropriate for each. First up, Journalist Maximus, or “I carry everything with me at all times”. These folks were likely Boy (or Girl) Scouts and want to always be prepared – so they bring all their reporting tools with them. And the best bags for these folks: backpacks. Now, the type of backpack bag best for Journalist Maximus depends upon species variation:
  • Some JM’s are a little clumsy and need to protect their most sacred of tools – the laptop. But they also want plenty of room for their other gear plus easy access to recorders, notebooks, granola bars, etc. For the JM whose laptop is primary and perhaps prone to bashing themselves and their bags around, I recommend the Smart Alec backpack and Brain Cell from Tom Bihn. I have fallen backwards while wearing my Tom Bihn with Brain Cell and my laptop was totally unscathed.
  • Say you’re the type of Journalist Maximus for whom the camera is the thing. And your backup camera. And your backup backup camera. Plus tripod. And some other gear that you like to have with you “just in case”. And that laptop you have to carry so you can file the story. Well, the Aura Backpack from Slappa is a good choice. Slappa has a long history of making awesome bags for the toughest of gearheads – DJ’s. They’ve now translated that expertise into bags that are perfect for camera-ladden journos on the go. They’ve included lots of padded pockets for cameras and lenses as well as straps for tying on tripods and other misc gear. Plus you can slide a laptop in.
  • Finally, there are some Journalist Maximus who are, well, a little girly – and don’t want to carry around a big, bad backpack. These ladies are possibly a little in denial about how much they carry. Luckily, they have a hero in Melissa Beth Designs. Melissa Beth has created a startlingly roomy backpack, called the Piggy Back, for a laptop and other gear that has a very slim silhouette and sits well on a smaller frame that often comes with this variation of the JM sub-species.
The second type of journalist I identified is at the opposite end of the scale as the Journalist Maximus – it’s the Journalist Simplicus. The JS doesn’t want to carry a lot of gear (or if they do, it’s small gear – netbook, point and shoot camera, iPhone - and needs to move quickly. Plus JS likes to have easy quick access to their tools – no taking off a backpack and digging around. The bag is preferred to be worn across the front of the body.

  • Waterfield Designs has created the Muzetto (personal size) that is perfect for the JS. Can be worn across the body – has no clasp to fumble with (the weight of the flap holds it down) so that interior pockets can be reached quickly. It will even hold a netbook so if you do have some gear, it can go with you. Also, it’s a little sexy because it’s made of soft-oiled leather.
  • Tom Bihn manages to cater to both ends of the journalist spectrum – first with the Smart Alec above and here with the Ristretto Vertical Messenger. The Ristretto is a light-weight, across the body bag that offers easy access to its interior contents. Plus, it has a built-in padded sleeve for your netbook. Very stylish and well made.
  • A rare variant on the JS is the Journalist Retroicus – often seen sporting a fedora, this journalist eschews any and all equipment besides their trusty notepad. Well, we even have a “bag” for them – this Smart Folio from Rickshaw Bags. It will hold their Moleskin notebook, passport, some currency and a few pens.

The third type of journalist I encountered in my field study is perhaps the most complex of journalists – Journalist Impatiens Paranoicus. This sub-species is generally a traveler – roaming to far-flung, exotic locales to ply their trade. Consequently, their tolerance for waiting in line, particularly at airport security checks is low. Plus, they’re inherently suspicious. This is what makes them good journalists, but it also makes them edgy in the lineup as well – worrying about their laptop and other gear. The solution – checkpoint friendly laptop bags that speed up time through the line and keep a laptop protected the whole time.

  • Skooba Design offers the Checkthrough Messenger as a panacea to the JI. A roomy messenger that will hold an assortment of gear (except, perhaps, for LOTS of camera equipment), the Checkthrough Messenger has a special way of storing your laptop and making it available to be easily scanned in a security line. No more taking your laptop out of the bag – alleviating the fear of someone walking away with it at the end of the line (they’d have to take your whole bag – much harder) as well as the dings that can happen putting it in and out of those bins. And, it actually speeds up your progress through the security line – just a touch.
  • Mobile Edge caters to a number of variations on the JI sub-species with their Scanfast line of messengers and briefcases. Their Scanfast Onyx Backpack really stands out because it will accommodate the paranoia of the JI AND the needs of the JM – lots of room for gear, special checkpoint friendly compartment – plus it looks good.

For those JI’s who are tired of sacrificing style for function. I hear you, sisters! And an extra added bonus of the Mobile Edge bags: they have a “Wireless Security Shield” [tm] on one of their pockets – so you can safely store your RFID passport or your Bluetooth devices without worrying about them being surreptitiously scanned. How’s that for a paranoia buster?

Finally, there is the most unpredictable and flighty of all journalists sub-species – the Journalist Fashionista. She (typically, this species is female – though not exclusively) wants it all. Capacity for all her gear, comfort in the carrying and style in the look. She wants to fit in on the pages of Vogue yet write for Newsweek. Fortunately, there are a few designers that can meet the JF’s needs.

  • Rainebrooke Designs has just come out with the Black Candy laptop tote. A stylish bag that is deceptively large. You can fit a 17” laptop in it, plus a good-sized camera. Even your tripod plus some recording equipment would fit. And with the generous handles, it is a dream to carry over your shoulder. And you don’t look like you’re carrying around an MSNBC newsroom in your bag.
  • CareerBags offers the Geisha Rolling Laptop Bag that should satisfy the most discriminating JF. It too is roomy enough to hold a laptop, tripod and camera equipment. An unusual spin on the Geisha is that it is a rolling laptop bag. However, the extra bits that usually make a rolling bag unpleasant to carry aren’t part of the Geisha. The wheels and handle are fashioned from very light material and aren’t obvious. So, if you wanted to carry it as a shoulder bag, you could. But then, through the airport, you could wheel it to save a fashionista’s back.
  • OK, this one isn’t super roomy – but it IS super stylish, for the JF who might want to divert attention from her probing questions. Clark and Mayfield’s Rosemont holds a laptop up to 17” as well as some peripherals. It’s not a bag for an embedded Iraq reporter, that’s for sure – but it is a solid piece of craftsmanship and will definitely bring a tinge of pizazz to any story you’re filing.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

So You Want to Be A Multimedia Journalist?

Last week, I moderated a panel at the National Association of Black Journalists annual conference entitled “Becoming a Multimedia Journalist.” Anyone who has read this blog on a regular basis knows that multimedia journalism – along with B2B/trade journalism – is a passion and a calling for me.

The session was designed to show attendees all the tools and techniques available to take reporting to the next level. Panelists Dr. Sybril Bennett of Belmont University and Washington Post reporter Theola Labbe-DeBose (photo, right, courtesy of Dr, Syb) offered tips on the technology and tools out there to make the complete multimedia journalist.

The first question people always ask is what is multimedia journalism? Of course, I Googled this question, and came up with this answer: A multimedia story is some combination of text, still photographs, video clips, audio, graphics and interactivity presented on a Web site in a nonlinear format in which the information in each medium is complementary, not redundant.” --Jane Stevens, journalist & educator

I then offered three examples of what I thought were good displays of multimedia. Example one was a large series done by the Washington Post last March on the state of Washington, D.C. schools. It was a seven-part series that included an interactive map on the District’s schools, photos, profiles of teachers, Q&A transcripts and reader comments.

Example two came from Vanity Fair magazine. I am a long-time subscriber of the magazine and have been following its coverage of the Bernie Madoff scandal. As a subscriber, I also get access to the magazine’s web site, which delivered seven powerful and poignant videos of victims of Madoff speaking out about the scandal.

Example three comes from my own company, Aviation Week. The Paris Air Show, held every other year, is the largest air show in the world. This year, Aviation Week had its usual group of reporters and editors covering the show. But we also created a special web site that contained all our coverage, including stories, blog posts, photos and videos. We also had a Facebook fan page and Tweeted all our coverage from the show.

So how does one become a multimedia journalist? Every journey is different, but mine was a mix of free and low-cost learning opportunities, insightful and helpful blogs, NABJ and social media gurus to help lead me. Below are some sites that can help:

Mashable – this is at the top of my Google Reader. It has served as my social media Sherpa, and I always get tips that help me do my job better.

Media Shift – this is a blog sponsored by PBS and its tag line says it all: Your Guide To The Digital Media Revolution.

The Multimedia Maven blog – this is a must-read from panelist Dr. Syb, full of helpful videos and tips.

Podcamp – these series of free or low-cost unconferences give you the tools to create, edit and produce your own podcasts. I attended Podcamp Philly and I’ve been off to the races ever since!!

I hope this has helped. Please keep following this blog, because I intend to continue posting and sharing whatever knowledge I can pass along. And if you attended my NABJ session, I thank you.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

National Geographic Hires Social Media VP

Back in May, the New York Times named Jennifer Preston as its first social media editor. Now, National Geographic has named Robert Murray as its first vice president of social media, reports PaidContent.org.

These appointments pleased me because it shows that companies are seeing the benefits of social media as a way to help plump up the bottom line. I have incorporated various tools -- blogging, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr -- to help promote my work at my current company. I am a journalist, not an accountant, so I can't quantify how what I do adds to the bottom line. But I feel like it does because I am spreading my company's brand way beyond its normal customer base.

And my company has created a council among its business units -- I am a member -- to explore how we can use these tools to make us more productive -- and, of course, make money. It will be interesting to see what my company and other media companies continue to do to make that balance work.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Time For A Change

This used to be my candidate blog for the National Association of Black Journalists Region II Director race. The campaign is over (I lost, by the way), but I'm still really interested in the latest in journalism trends. So now the blog will be all about that. There were a lot of great sessions at this year's NABJ, which was held last week in Tampa. But today, I'll talk about a few items that showed up on my Google Reader.

First up, former CBS News anchor Dan Rather used a column in the Washington Post to ask President Obama to create a commission to study the "perilous" state of America's news media. "I am not calling for any sort of government bailout for media companies. Nor am I encouraging any form of government control over them," he wrote. "I want the president to convene a nonpartisan, blue-ribbon commission to assess the state of the news as an institution and an industry and to make recommendations for improving and stabilizing both"

While I applaud Rather for his passion on this issue, I have to wonder how much it will really help. The media got into this mess by not addressing the unleashed power of the Internet when it first started growing, and I doubt that a presidential commission will stop that movement.

Next, I read with interest two items -- one from PaidContent.org and one from Beet.tv -- on getting readers to pay for content. Paid Content posted about a plan being considered by FT.com to "unveil a pay-as-you-read model loosely based on Apple’s iTunes" as a way to boost online revenue. An executive says the plan could be introduced in about a year, and can work "as long as it’s easy for readers to pay and at the right price."

Beet.TV has posted a video interview with Josh Tyrangiel, Managing editor of TIME.com, who says in the future, "there will an upside for highly valued, niche content, and that subscribers will pay for "indispensable" information."

As newspapers and magazines scramble to put the genie back in the bottle and stop readers for getting news and information for free, it seems smart that readers will pay for information they see as "indispensable." It will be interesting to see how those payments are calculated and if readers will take the bait in the future. But whatever happens, someone needs to come up with a monetization model to stop the continued job losses in journalism.

Monday, August 3, 2009

NABJ Voting Goes Down to the Wire-VOTE!!

Today is Monday, Aug. 3, and the National Association of Black Journalists conference is fast approaching. For those of you who haven't voted yet, please don't forget to vote when you arrive in Tampa. On site voting ends on Friday, Aug. 7 at 5:00 p.m. sharp!! With the current turmoil in the journalism business, I feel that this election could be the most important in the association's history.

I have blogged here extensively about, among other things, the job losses, monetizing the business model and journalists adapting their skills to fit into an ever-changing industry. As such, I believe it is very important that we have a board that can hit the ground running to handle these and other challenges our members will face in the next two years. No matter who you vote for, I would encourage you to seek out the candidates in Tampa or attend the candidates forum to hear their platform and vision for NABJ moving forward.

Here are my endorsements today for the NABJ candidates I believe will best serve our membership moving forward. I'll start with the person I believe should lead us for the next 2 years. That person is Kathy Times, currently the board's VP/Broadcast. I have admired Times' advocacy and drive to help NABJ's Media Institute grow and flourish. I have become a strong proponent of training NABJ members to handle the move to new media, and Kathy has made that a priority on her platform. I also appreciate her commitment to providing more communications to NABJ members.

Next up is VP/Print, and I am heartily endorsing current NABJ secretary Deidre Childress. I have always been impressed with Childress's responses on the NABJ Listserv to questions from the membership, no matter how difficult the question. And having looked at the board minutes for the past 2 years, Childress is detail and task oriented, skills that will be critical as print journalism continues its painful -- and interesting -- transformation. I have blogged about NABJ forming partnerships with the businesses that are transforming the print journalism model and she is committed to doing that moving forward.

I am throwing my support behind Andrew Humphrey for VP/Broadcast. As an active member of the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force, I have had the pleasure to see Humphrey's work up close and personal. Among the planks in his platform is his commitment to push for members in the digital frontier and is also committed to expanding NABJ partnerships with new media businesses.

Sherlon Christie is my choice to take over as NABJ secretary. Christie has been actively running for the office, reaching out to the NABJ membership with his blog, Facebook page, online live chats and appearances at association events. In his platform, he has two planks that especially appeal to me and should to the rest of the NABJ membership. First, he is emphasizing the importance of new media, with the goal to encourage all members to get up to speed with those skills, since that is the future of journalism. Second, he has committed to continue with Childress's efforts to be more open and offer regular information updates to the NABJ membership.

Although I can't vote for Region IV director, I am supporting the candidacy of Keith Reed. Reed has been very active in creating and maintaining his multimedia profile and serving as a commenter with national media outlets on money and finance. In his platform, he pledges to work with the NABJ board to help members find renewed purpose in a quickly changing media landscape.

And last, but not least, I hope those of you in Region II will consider my candidacy for director. I understand that I am running against an incumbent, but with the rapid changes in the industry in the past two years alone, I feel some change could only do the board good.

As Region II Director, my priorities will be to:
  • Offer a yearly Region II conference and quarterly webinars on hot topics;

  • Ensure more is done to offer training/advice/learning for members trying to adapt to new business models; and

  • Increase the contact of the regional director to better serve as a bridge between local chapters and the board.

During these times of rapid change, it's important for NABJ members to look at all the candidates and see which ones you feel will best guide the association in what will most likely be another two years of turmoil. Again, I feel the candidates I'm endorsing are the ones who will do that best moving forward.