Tag Archives | Patrick Kerkstra

Adaptation is key in a digital world

Journalists are going to need a variety of new skills, and publications are going to need a variety of new income sources, as news organizations continue to navigate the digital world.

That was the main message of panelists at the “Going Digital” session Saturday, featuring Billy Penn’s Danya Henninger and Philadelphia Media Networks’s Patrick Kerkstra, moderated by Mike Feeley of PA Media Group, publisher of The Patriot-News and PennLive.com.

Having a digital presence isn’t an just an option any more; it’s a necessity, panelists said, and if a publication is not online yet, they have a lot of catching up to do. As for those operating in the digital realm (and most are), there’s no question digital has its own set of dynamics. Even outlets like Billy Penn, which began their lives in the digital realm, continue to learn what works through trial and error.

The new digital reality has changed the skillsets young journalists need to get hired. Panelists told the mostly student audience that, although reporters are occasionally hired because of their writing ability alone, most are hired based on their ability to adapt. This means shooting and editing video, reporting, photographing and the intersection of all three.

One key skill all three panelists recommended learning: Google Analytics. In a world of live updating and where online publications feature virtually every type of media, web analytics are essential for determining what people will read and how.

However, focusing on analytics can also be a detriment to journalistic enterprise, they said. Reaching a target number of page views or a certain scroll depth can obscure writers’ abilities if they dwell on it too much instead of perfecting their work and maintaining their commitment to accuracy, according to Kerskstra.

Diversification of revenue might be the most jarring part of the shift from print to digital, or, as in the case of Billy Penn, taking the plunge straight to digital. Generating revenue for an online platform can be daunting.  Display ads are not the money makers they once were, and therefore many news organizations, including Billy Penn, the Philadelphia Media Network and the PA Media group, are looking to events, sponsorships and grants alongside their advertisers to generate revenue.

Regardless of the platform or the source of revenue, journalists’ ethics are about the only thing that has not changed as they shift from print to digital. Though the traditional wall between the newsroom and advertising is crumbling and people from both departments often find themselves in the same room together talking about ways to create revenue-generating activities such as events and newsletters, newsroom leaders need to continue to uphold journalistic standards, the panelists said.

Feeley, of the PA Media Group, gave the example of how the advertising department asked his newsroom to do a newsletter about medical marijuana, but the advertising staff only wanted positive stories.

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SPJ Region 1 Conference April 21-22

For the LOVE of Journalism

Celebrate your love of journalism and learn new skills for two days in the city where Freedom of the Press got its start.

The Society of Professional Journalists Regional 1 Spring Conference will take place April 21 and 22 at Temple University in Philadelphia. Visit our website www.spjr1c.org/ or use our hashtag #LoveJournalism.

The theme of the conference is “For the Love of Journalism,” reflecting both our passion for our chosen profession and a growing public appreciation of how the role of a free press serves in a democracy.

Going to Philly!

We are in Philadelphia, the “city of brotherly love” where so many of the founding principles of our free press took root – from Benjamin Franklin’s “Poore Richard’s Almanac” to the Constitution and the First Amendment.

We’ll celebrate that history and help chart our own future by offering useful training in multimedia and social media skills that you can put to immediate use in your newsroom or classroom.

Our focus during the Saturday, April 21, sessions at Annenberg Hall will be on the skills you need to know to be a better journalist – including the latest Google tools, KipCamp’s “Dirty Dozen” useful journalism apps and making the jump from print to digital.

We’ll also help you stay current with important stories such as covering sexual harassment and covering the medical and recreational marijuana business.

Click here to register for the two-day event.

Click here to register for just the Sunday event.

Conference details are here.

First Amendment legal advice

A First Amendment lawyer will be available to help with free consultations on any press freedom issue you may be encountering. And we’ll take a close look at legislation aimed at expanding press freedom for high school students.

On Sunday, April 22, that focus will broaden to some of the bigger challenges facing journalism today.

We’ll start the day with our Mark of Excellence awards brunch at the Philadelphia Media Network building, where our keynote speaker will be Bill Marimow, vice president of strategic development for the PMN, which includes The Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com.

On Sunday afternoon, we’ll have a panel discussion on the future of journalism in Philadelphia.

We’ll hear from reporters who’ve covered Bill Cosby’s sex assault trial and we’ll hear from Signe Wilkinson on how she draws her Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoons.

Just for fun

The weekend will also include some activities that are just for fun – including a walking tour of historic sites in journalism in downtown Philadelphia and, for those who arrive early, a Friday night ball game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies.

For more information on other things to see and do click here.

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