As newsrooms forge ahead, training can’t be left behind

Twitter announced a pretty big overhaul yesterday, with two big changes for our business: brand pages can now be built in Twitter, and Tweets will be more easily embeddedable.

Fantastic news, I thought, and Tweeted this:

Soon after, however,  @ByDanielVictor provided a reality check, reminding followers that Tweets are not written in stone.

The Twitter updates are great news for journalists (blog post coming soon!), and those in the social media sphere are no doubt excited. I know I am.

However, I was reminded this week the importance making sure everyone  understands new technologies, and how we use them.

Let me back up a bit. This fall, after attending the Online News Association conference and meeting Vadim Lavrusik, I gave a presentation to our newsroom about how journalists can (and should) be using Facebook.

I was floored by the enthusiasm in the room.

The average in our newsroom is 48.  Many have been here 20 – 30 years.  And after my presentation, many of them asked for a tutorial on Facebook.

These are highly skilled, exceptional journalists, and they are keen to learn these new platforms.

I set up a quick google survey, asking our journos what they wanted to learn more about. Subjects included Twitter, Facebook, video, Storify, Blogging, Google+ and your basic ‘I need to understand my Blackberry better.’ (Generally these are our more senior reporters who are rotated through a weekend general assignment shift)

Side note: Only our photogs and a handful of reporters have iPhones. This is a budget issue. But our BB reporters say on a cold day, they’re happy not to have a touch screen.

Blackberry training may seem pretty basic to many, but our newsroom went through some cuts, and now not every reporter has one. But when they work a weekend shift, reporters are expected to use one and Tweet as needed. For this, a reporter can ‘check out’ a newsroom Blackberry.

In my first Blackberry training session (this week), it became obvious that these folks were a) still very new to Blackberry and b) very keen to learn.

I intended to focus on Twitterberry and sending video.

Their first question was: how do I send an email and open an attachment?

By the end of the half hour, they were shooting pics and video of each other,  laughing and much more comfortable with the device.

And I was reminded that you can’t lose sight of training. It’s not because journalists don’t want to learn.

(File pic of the BBC Newsroom from Innovations in Newspapers)

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