Who Are Your Digital Gurus?

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

On Jan. 26, the Digital Journalism Task Force held a joint webinar with Knowledgewebb entitled 10 Steps to a Tech-Savvy You.” Owner Amy Webb went through 10 terrific steps that anyone could take right now to enhance their work.  The notes to that session are here, and you can also take a look at the Twitter chat here.

Step #8 is Find Your Digital Guru, and this one really struck me.  I thought about how much I’ve developed as a digital journalist, and how much further I need to go to continuously improve my craft.  And I think about all the gurus in my life who have gotten me to this point.  I started my digital journey at NABJ’s 2006 convention (my first one) in Indianapolis.  That’s where I sat in on sessions with the Washington Post’s Mark Luckie (former owner of the 10000 Words blog) and Arizona State University’s Retha Hill.  It was the wisdom they imparted there that got me on the road to blogging.

But I didn’t really get into the whole package until almost a year later, in June 2007.  I was covering an airport marketing/communications conference at a beautiful resort in Tucson, Ariz.  It was the last session of the conference’s second day.  Most people had left for happy hour, pool time or a visit to the spa.  But those of us who stayed and listened to Josh Hallett of the Hyku blog and Voce Communications were given a real treat.  Hallett spent his time showing the possibilities of social media in our work and the tools available to help.  I was transformed.

And it also helped that Hallett is an aviation geek (check out his aviation-related photos at his Flickr account) like me.  We spoke the whole time after the conference.  A month later, we met up at the BlogPhiladephia conference, where he introduced me to many social media/new media folks.  After that, I spoke at his BlogOrlando conference for the next two years on how journalists could use social media for their work.  Thanks to Hallett, I was linked into a community of really cool people doing cutting edge stuff that has greatly helped me in my career.

But there are some great gurus within NABJ that are always willing to help fellow members.  You can check out some of them and other journalists of color doing cool things in the multimedia play pen here.  But some of my current NABJ gurus include:

  • Dr. Sybril Bennett, Associate Professor of the New Century Journalism Program at Belmont University and chair, NABJ convention Programming Chair
  • Doug Mitchell, NABJ Media Institute co-chair; Entrepreneurship/Career Coaching/Project Management/Media Consulting/Classroom Teaching
  • Gina Gayle, photojournalist and professor of practice, Univ of Southern Mississippi
  • Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Associate Professor at Elon University and founder, LocallyGrownNews.com
  • Mario Armstrong, Tech show Host, Commentator, Digital Lifestyle Expert, Small Biz Tech Advocate
  • Natalie McNeal, Southeastern Regional Editor AOL City’s Best; owner, Frugalista website

I have even more outside of NABJ, including Amy Webb.  But by following and befriending gurus, you only improve your own work.  And here’s a gentle reminder: you have until Wednesday to take 30% off the normal $129 year-long subscription to Amy’s Knowledgewebb site.  Use the code NABJDIGI. You won’t be sorry!!

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One response to “Who Are Your Digital Gurus?

  1. Pingback: Friday Link Love « Aviation Queen

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