Friday, October 21, 2011

Lindsey Wiebe, the future of journalism

Following up on last week’s refreshingly retro journalism ideas from a couple of veterans, here are a handful of future-oriented suggestions from a younger member of the tribe.

Lindsey Wiebe, the energetic and readable social media reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press – “the least defined job I’ve ever had” – offered them to Creative Communications students on Oct. 20.

Wiebe, who graduated from CreComm in 2004, backed up her recommendations with her experiences in the unpredictable but rewarding field of journalism.

Do things that don’t seem like what you are supposed to do.

In 2009, a year of layoffs at most news media and closings at some, Wiebe wrangled a nine-month leave of absence from the Free Press, and moved to France.

Smart move: the newspaper saved her salary for almost a year, and then was able to take her back.

Get a wide skill set; learn anything you can.

Next week Wiebe is scheduled to manage the Free Press apps.

Pitch stories your employer isn’t doing.

Wiebe created a niche covering the environmental issues the Free Press hadn’t found a way to handle. She even got to eat local Manitoba food for a month and write about it. In November. Hmm … perhaps not her best choice.

But all this self-invention brings another benefit: confidence about the future.

Wiebe says she doesn’t know if her job will exist two years from now. But, she says, “I’m OK with that.”

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