What? Oh, right, well it’s latin actually. It means “To assert no falsehood and to hide no truth” and it’s the motto of the Caledonian Mercury where I’ve been doing some work experience for uni.
It’s been an interesting experience. Although I didn’t get a by-line, as all their writing is done by hand-picked staffers and freelances, I did get some valuable insight into the way an online operation is run and the part that Social Media has to play in it. My job this week mainly revolved around tweeting links to new stories as they went live, sticking them on the Facebook page – yes, a newspaper with a Facebook page; that’s why it’s going to work! – and sorting out the following of followers and all that jazz.
On Thursday I emailed Stewart a few thoughts on how they could be using Google Wave too, so we’ll see what comes of that, if anything. I think it’s a good idea and it’s in keeping with the paper’s mission statement and ideals. I’m not going to say what it is right now but if they go for it and it works you can expect a post entitled “That was my idea!”
So what did I learn? Well, it’s taken a few days of calming my brain down (yesterday’s MAMJ News Day did NOT help with that!) to figure it all out. I knew it was worthwhile; I just wasn’t sure why. I am now.
What last week gave me was more valuable than a few paragraphs and a by-line. In Stewart Kirkpatrick I made a cracking contact – a wee gesture at the end of the week, while a bit cheesy, should make sure he remembers me – but even that was not the most worthwhile part.
I saw a new venture launch, successfully, from an almost 100% online and social media platform.
The Caledonian Mercury promoted itself completely on Twitter and AllMediaScotland, and on that first day it was almost viral. Word spread, links were tweeted and retweeted, and before the end of day 1 the site had smashed its projected traffic numbers for the year.
So what last week gave me was hope. If the CalMerc works (and if anyone is qualified to make it work it’s Stewart) then others will follow. Journalists – proper journos, not school kids with camera phones – will be in demand again. As long as they have the skills for online work, that is.
Journalism as an industry needs the internet. It needs social media. And it needs journalists who can ply their trade effectively across the online and SM worlds.
I think the Mercury will work. I can’t really say why, but I got the feeling I was in at the start of something big, in more ways than one.
I’ve been inspired with a renewed belief in the career I’ve chosen. I’ve been inspired to get Planet Holyrood’s blogs back up and running (this weekend – watch for it.)
New year, new vigour, new me. Maybe not that last one.
Maybe it’ll all be ok.