It’s fair to say my week peaked by hump day after meeting Oh Land in New York on Monday and James Hamblin in Washington DC on Wednesday.
Jim (as if you haven’t heard of him) ditched his medical career in 2012 for a health editor position at TheAtlantic.com. His main focus is an online series called “If Our Bodies Could Talk”.
He’s the first to point out his work isn’t conventional journalism; if it can be classed as journalism at all.
While in town I also stopped by National Geographic, where I met a bunch of people who specialise in everything from photography to cartography to data analysis to infographics to clay modelling (I’m not even kidding – I met Fernando Baptista).
I came away with renewed appreciation for the benefits of newsroom collaboration, especially in this time of transition.
Vox is an altogether different scene, but also with collaboration / integration at its core. Owing to reporters, designers, and developers working in the same newsroom, skills are shared organically as well as through in-house training. Plenty of company projects are conceived at lunchtime discussions, Yuri Victor told me.
Jessica Lima took a job at Buzzfeed for a similar sense of creative freedom: “At other organisations there are like 20 people stopping you from being creative.”
I’ve learnt that, perhaps owing to all this heightened collaboration, no one does just one job anymore.
“Journalists are being asked to do much more than ever before, with fewer resources,” Duy Linh Tu said in his book.
“These days, journalists are required to write, shoot photos, analyze data, create graphics, and produce video as regular functions of their jobs.”
This was clearly on show at GeoJourNews, where each presenter boasted a range of abilities relating to half a dozen professions.
Michael Keller is a perfect (if rare) example. The guy does everything: Reports, designs, and programs interactive projects.
Another journalist I met in New York, Justin Silverman, is both a “senior feature writer” and “video producer”.
And Jim, well, Jim is a doctor who writes articles and hosts comedic videos.
What even is journalism.