Meeting Local Tech Minds – CentreSource Open House

September 28, 2008

Last night I went to the centre{source} Open House courtesy of new pal Jamie Meredith who works at the web strategies company. There was sort of west coast Web 2.0 party vibe to the event, which featured a palm reader, Rock Band for the Wii and of course, free flowing booze. True geeks only possess data CD’s and so the karaoke music (mostly hip-hop) was instead played with acoustic guitars.

It was an eye-opening experience being around so many technology-minded professionals. Alternately, it was strange meeting people and then several minutes later being reintroduced to them as their twitter handle. But, that’s a sign of the times I suppose.

Venturing Outside Editorial Departments…

Anyways, Jamie introduced me to Jim Porter, a Web developer at The Tennessean. Confirming what I long suspected, the Gannet-owned Newspaper has already hired the bright, innovative employees it needs to overcome the impending transition from print to the web but they aren’t in the editorial department. Jim is one of these employees and it was great to hear his thoughts. [I’ll be interviewing Jim soon about his speaker session proposal at BarCamp Nashville.]

For me, it reinforces the idea that newspapers need to start thinking more like someone in the IT department when pushing information out to the public. If they don’t want to, then step aside and let someone else do it without interference. If newspapers truly want to be as effective online as they were in print long ago, then they need to start learning a few new (simple) skills.

I would be extremely interested to find out how many journalists working at large publications know how to write in basic HTML. If I were an Editor, I would demand that all web-only content be written with Markups. It’s amazing that as journalists you can gather a multitude of sources to create an article about a subject you know little of, but getting them to start typing the “<” or “>” keys is like drawing a line in the sand.

Extreme Resistance: