Archive for April, 2011

17
Apr
11

“DigiDave” anticipates future of journalism

David Cohen does a lot of traveling.

The Spot.Us founder enjoys it as it is an opportunity to spread his wealth of knowledge to a budding audience of young journalists. One of the necessities he needs for his travels is a suitcase. He feels a suitcase os a necessary means for life in general because of its storing capacity. Another aspect of this sort is a wheel. Without the wheel, travel would be impossible and normal everyday life would cease to function properly. Now, by adding the wheel to the suitcase you have a convenient way to make travel easier. The inventor of it is one of Cohen’s heroes. That simple invention is innovative, he says, and can be translated over to a gateway of new age journalism.

On April 5th as part of WVU Journalism Week, Cohen talked to a packed house discussing a fresh wave of journalism through his many endeavors and offered advice on how to stay afloat in this ever changing industry.

Cohen’s Power Point presentation consisted of just 20 slides, which he flew through rather quickly. He wasn’t here for a lecture. He wanted back-and-forth engagement between himself and the audience and compared it to his view of what journalism really means. He is the founder of spot.us, a NPR or PBS type outlet on the web. The website is considered to be community funded reporting where people pledge to hire out a freelance journalist to cover hot button issues across the country.

His motive wasn’t to gloat, though. His skill set and technical mind are far more advanced than many other speakers I have heard. While Cohen did say he is a “shameless self promoter,” it made me realize that without a little personal boasting, it’s going to be hard to sound credible and be seen as a respected voice among a large group of people fighting for the same recognition. Cohen offered the skills to indeed become that go-to guy, so to speak, especially in uncharted territory. He spoke in terms of trail and error. He is the mastermind behind spot.us and has a fleet of almost 100,000 contributors while raising hundreds of thousands of dollars toward different projects on his site. This wasn’t going to happen overnight. It takes an agile and iterative mindset, he said. That means taking risks and learning from mistakes. By starting small and staying determined, anything can happen. There is no set in stone policy or process for what will become of the journalism world in the near future. By getting involved and showing an itch to make something happen, good things will come forth. Cohen is a perfect example of that.

Cohen truly feels the journalism industry may be as hot as its ever been. While newspapers and other print outlets seem to be dying out, a whole new world of web based content is emerging by the minute. There are plenty of opportunities online to showcase talents and abilities and there are plenty of people out there willing to read what you have to say. He gave a quote from Lisa Williams, a blogger from Nieman Lab. It read, “Journalism will survive the death of its institutions.” This is encouraging because we are the inaugural generation ready to take the next step and become something through the internet. From this, I have confirmed that having a strong web presence is crucial. Through Twitter, Facebook and my two blogs I have made connections and will even further that by marketing them even more.

Throughout the speech, a live twitter feed was on the projection screen with tweets from the audience. This fact alone showed that Cohen knew his stuff. Innovation and engagement, they’re here to stay.

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