Digital Journalism: The Time For Talk Is Done

image2067378807.jpgThis is my boss, Karl. He's a career journalist who, like me, is enthusiastic about the possibilities opened up by new technologies. This whole post, picture included, has been created on a hand-held device, published over the mobile phone network, to a CMS that's free, and which is hosted for only a few pounds a month - certainly for less than I spend on coffee in a week.

That's exciting, because of the possibilities for in-the-field journalism it opens up. This should be an exciting time for journalists. Our ability to get to news, record it and share it with the world is higher than it's ever been. So why are there do few people like Karl? Why do so many journalists regard the whole business as something to be challenged, ignored or even soundly mocked?
I think - and I've heard many others echo the same thought back to me - that we have to stop talking about whether these tools are useful to journalists, and start using them to prove that they are.

The danger we're in right now is that many of the people who are most conversant with these tools, and who are the biggest evangelists, for them end up getting pulled away from the reporting positions into central development functions. They stop doing, and start encouraging others to do. But I think we need more leading by example. And we need better documentation of good journalism done with new tools. And we need to find better ways of sharing knowledge of how to use these tools between journalists.

Let's see if we can't make the next six months the period when journalism really gets to grips with these new tools.