Thursday, 10 May 2012

The responsibility of learning

I always find the Pew Research Centre data fascinating - the information is all based on US findings, of course, but it's a wonderful insight into the way people think (and, given the right technology, operate). 

The latest one - Learning in the Digital Age - is no exception. It's packed with stats and graphs, although my personal favourite slide is this one:





74% of smartphone users are sharing where they are and what they are doing there. A later slide says 52% of adults are on social networks (I would have probably guessed higher, probably due to my own bias)  
If mainstream media organisations can't find a way to tap into these people - collaboratively, editorially and commercially - we may as well pack up and go home. Although some of the information pertains to libraries and librarians, it inevitably has resonance with me as a journalist. 
Like this slide 



From a media point of view, you could say "We report best passively..." has been replaced by "We report best actively" - the engagement, collaboration and transparency that newsrooms should strive for is just the same. 
And, taking the last part of the sentence into consideration, I believe we should manage our own learning. 
Training is vital, and no one should be expected to be able to produce edited video without having some idea of how to go about it but when it comes to learning about social media, data tools, mapping, sharing, online tools that make doing the job or telling the story easier/better/richer - from Audioboo to Zemanta- there is a responsibility to keep up with what's happening.  

Learning on the job is part of the job. Whether it's listening to colleagues, reading tech blogs, following interesting people on Twitter (it even suggests who you should follow now, after all) or Quora, asking questions.... learning about the new tools of the trade comes down to putting your journalist abilities into good use.
After all, it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. 
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