Jim Roberts is executive editor and chief content officer of Mashable, and he’s coming to Storyology.
We asked him, as part of our usual speaker questionnaire, about his relationship to storytelling. We’ve pulled it out because it pretty much gets to the point of the whole conference: how journalists connect with their readers/viewers/listeners when that relationship is changing so quickly.
Jim’s Storyology sessions:
Master class The following: Building engagement with social media – Thursday, Nov. 12
Keynote Keep the change: The power of embracing disruption – Friday, Nov. 13
I don’t consider myself a storyteller, per se, but I do consider myself an evangelist for using the power of digital technology to enhance the ability of journalists and writers in general to reach their audience and connect with them in useful and intimate ways.
I came of age in an era of journalism in which such connections were largely devalued. Journalists – even the most creative and expressive “gonzo” or “new journalism” writers of the 1960s and 1970s – saw their work as a one- or two-dimension effort. They talked to the audience and had no means to listen.
And in the mainstream media, where I worked for 30 years, mostly at The New York Times, there was not just no means to listen there was also little interest in doing so. Journalists were trained and encouraged to be observers … translators, if you will…of events. And I’ve been privileged to have worked with some of the best.
But now I do not think it’s enough to simply observe and translate. Journalists need to listen and interact and understand that the craft of delivering information is not a unidirectional effort. They need to understand the variety of sources of information that exist to better inform them and their audiences, from tweets to Instagram posts and even Snapchat snaps.
Journalists must also understand how platforms for delivering information are constantly changing and will continue to evolve. The most effective communicators in the future will be those who are able to cope with this evolution, and take advantage of new distribution channels as they arise.
While many journalists of my generation either feared the digital revolution or lacked the desire to adapt, I’ve long felt that with every advance in platforms or sharing technology or image-making was an opportunity to become a better communicator. Change is always difficult, but there’s far more opportunity than risk in embracing it.
Storyology is Australia’s premier festival of media and storytelling. It also has the best networking all year (Jim Roberts!). Early bird ticket discounts for Storyology end Monday, Oct. 26. Check out the Storyology program, speaker lineup and Storyology Plus Pass workshops.