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Good news or bad news first?

Here’s the bad news: the old model of journalism is, well, sort of crumbling.

Good news: We’re figuring out how to adapt. (And by ‘we’ I mean Lindsey and myself. I’m not exactly sure what the rest of the journalism world is doing).

As journalism nerds, Lindsey and I are well aware of the uncertainty surrounding the industry off of which we hope to make a livelihood. But a meeting this morning with one of our project advisers, SMU photojournalism professor Robert Hart, has left us thinking (or was it weeping?).

We met with Hart because we wanted advice .You know what we wanted advice about? Our blog. You know what he thought about our blog? He hasn’t read it. But we forgive him because he managed to share some words of wisdom about the blog without even seeing it.

You want to know what else he told us? The same sort of stuff we’ve been hearing–prepare yourself for increased layoffs, increased competition and how to be poor. But he also told us we’re on the right track. Freelancing is a good thing. It’s our attempt to stay afloat in some very turbelent waters.

Experience is the best learning tool and so we created an opportunity for ourselves. There is no way we’d get to do something like this at a newspaper or magazine right now. They don’t have the money. So we’re on to plan B– do it ourselves.

But so here is my question, does that make us citizen journalists? And is that such a bad thing?

UPDATE: Maybe I should give a bit more background on citizen journalism. I probably resisted doing so in the first place because it’s a difficult term to define. But I understood it to be citizens actively reporting and publishing (be it on blogs or other publications) news and information. And I guess my thinking was along the lines of: Lindsey and I are seeking the news and if the stories we report are not picked up by major media outlets, the news will still be reported through our blog. So what does that make us? Are we journalists only if our work is published in a paper or magazine? Or are we journalists regardless only using a new medium to report the news?

And thanks, Hart, for reading up.

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I joined Twitter last night. To those of you already on it, you’re saying, “Glad you finally joined the crowd.” To those of you who know what it is and refuse to create an account, you’re thinking, “Why would you do that?” And those of you who have never heard of Twitter are going, “What are you talking about?” (By the way, I was in the second group not too long ago. I’m what marketers call a late adopter. I know, I know, that doesn’t make me an ideal candidate for this industry, but I’ll change…eventually.)

According to Twitter’s site, it is “a real-time short messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices.” Basically, people send out messages of no more than 140 characters about whatever they want. Your friends can choose to “follow you.” When this happens, your message appears in their stream of messages that they can get on their Twitter homepage or phone.

You might be wondering what convinced me to join. A good friend has been telling me repeatedly that I need to create an account. She invited me last night by telling Twitter to send a message to my phone. I decided to go for it and created an account through text messages. Here’s why I gave in:

  1. I subscribe to Will Sullivan’s Journerdism daily e-mails to keep up with current events in the journalism industry (he sends out links to interesting articles). Twitter makes an appearance at least once a week. It’s time I really understand what all the articles are about.
  2. I hope that by Twittering I can bring more attention to this site and the stories that Sommer and I hope to tell.
  3. My curiosity about this weird phenomenon got the best of me.

I was totally addicted last night. I wanted to learn the in’s and out’s of the foreign site and figure out what makes it so great and how to best utilize it. I’m still learning, but this crash course in how to effectively use new media to connect with people and drive traffic here is exactly what I need. I’m finally starting to understand what all these journalists have been talking about, and it feels great.

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I feel obligated as Sommer’s best friend to tell everyone that today is her birthday. I suppose I lose points because the day’s almost over, but I figure that as long as it’s posted on Feb. 11 I’m good. I’ve already told her happy birthday in almost every form possible: over the phone, texting, chatting online, Facebook. Not in person, but we’re going out to lunch soon, so that will get covered. I even texted her a day early because I was confused about which day of the week it was. So I think it’s only appropriate if I say happy birthday on our blog, too.

Happy birthday, Chiefy! (Haha, I bet you never thought you’d see that nickname in print anywhere. ;))

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