Arrrgh…Working With Baby Boomers for Web Content

July 9th, 2009 |


I started out working with troubled children and families running residential facilities and crisis management teams. I have been a professional writer and spent ten years creating and managing social media. If that makes no sense to you, think how I feel. Want to know more?

I know I am a day early on my deadline, but the baby boomers I work for are driving me nuts. I have been a journalist, off and on, for quite a while. The technology I use has changed a lot, but the basics haven’t. I have my telephone set up so that I can record phone interviews as MP3’s and my gear bag has a whole range of digital recording devices. I can even do video interviews on the web, but the process is still basically the same. You have to do research, you have to do good interviews that produce good quotes, you  have to check the facts. It does take less driving around, but producing an article on the web still takes the same fundamental approach. It is not just about good writing and fancy gadgets.

The problem is that my fellow boomers seem to think that you can pull good web content out of your, uh, hat. They want me to do a piece on a new and fairly interesting project they are doing, but they somehow seem to think that they do not have to talk to me first. It really does not matter if you are writing a blog post, creating copy for an online article or carving stone tablets. Fancy technology does not a good piece make. You have to do the background work and to do that you need some cooperation from the people who actually do things, not just write about them.

It is pretty easy to say anything you want to say somewhere on the weird, weird web, but good is still good, my friends. Online journalism is still journalism. I need sources, phone numbers, maybe even addresses in the real world. I do not make this stuff up. I just try to record it in an interesting way.

I honestly do not know what these kids today would say about this, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they might agree with me, even if I am 62 on the 19th of this month and eligible for Social Security. Honestly, I would be very interested in seeing how they come down on this.

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  • Jlo0312

    The dividing line between journalism and junk is EXACTLY what you wrote…tell me where we are going, and I will get us there. Don't hand me a map and say "GO."

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  • @euonymous

    The similar thing from the standpoint of a marketing consultant is when you think you’re developing a marketing program for a company and it turns out they tag along on interviews and try to hard sell the person you are interviewing to get information about the market in general. Consultants, of which you are one, need a common understanding with clients as to what is being done and how. Even if you think you have that understanding, the other party has to cooperate and live up to that understanding. It doesn’t always happen. Life goes on. 😉

  • Mariloren

    What you said is true, but I noticed that a lot of new journalists only copy or rephrase. Time will tell!