Year Zero

Birmingham skyline
A Brummie skyline. This was home for a good part of 2010

Though all the reflections about the year are usually made in its last week, I’m only writing them down now. 2010 was an amazing but busy year, so busy I had to leave this post to 2011. Here are my thoughts on it.

The first half of the year I was in Birmingham doing the MA Online Journalism with Paul Bradshaw heading the course. It was probably the smartest thing I have ever done in my life because I got to learn new things and meet amazing people, my colleagues included. I blogged extensively about my time there and some of my experiments during the course with online journalism tools and narratives, so you can browse the blog for more info on that.

I still have a final project to wrap up the MA, and that is one of my priorities for this year. But I’ll talk about this later, because I think I’ll need your help.

In the second half of the year I’ve been working as an instructor – which is different from being a teacher – training journalists to face the needs of the online medium. It has been a rewarding experience, and I’m surrounded by talented, skilled people, with different expertise and with whom I’ve been learning a lot.

In between I wrote a few articles for Journalism.co.uk, a big one for a documentary magazine, worked briefly for a major newspaper defining their social media strategy

And this is the good stuff. Not that there’s anything bad to say about 2010, it was a hell of a year, but with so many things happening I neglected a few things, like this blog. And I kinda lost my mojo (not mobile journalism). I am a reasonable juggler, but not at a Cirque du Soleil level. I had lots of ideas and opinions, you know, the stuff I used to share with all of you and that made me “famous”, but I never got to find the time to post them. That was my biggest regret in 2010, but on the other hand, I’m glad I didn’t, because it made me look at the big picture and see that there are too many “changes” going on. Yes, the inverted commas are supposed to have a ironic effect (both in “famous” and “changes”). No matter how interesting my ideas were, two weeks later they would be outdated.

We saw the iPad craze amongst the media tycoons, which is nothing but a feeble attempt to transport the print logic to a digital device (again). That is not the way, sirs. We watched the Wikileaks effect in different times of the year, and the debate about what is journalism, and what is not. I can say that debate is not journalism, and that once again media focused on the accessory and not on the important stuff. Facebook became the T-Rex of the web, and still many think it’s foolish. Sometimes it is, but it also has big teeth, and it’s smart to be in good terms with it. All in all, instead of broadcasting the news and make their content more interesting and valuable, most media faced the internet like if it was 1999. We’re a bit more advanced than that.

But this makes me happy and more confident about the future. The good stuff will survive and the bad will deliberately jump off a cliff. Never the Darwin theories have been so well applied to an industry.

2010 was year zero, for me and for the future of journalism. Changes are happening in different ways and in different paces, in different places, but the wheels are moving forward. We just have to enjoy the ride. 2011 is going to be the year to do things, after all the learning and thinking, all the mishaps and dead ends. Today is always a good day to start. I just need to be a better juggler.

Just do it, and make it consequent. That’s my motto for this year. What is yours?

PS: by the way, I’d like to thank to all the people that I met this year and helped me move forward, I could have never done this on my own. It’s a long list, but you know who you are. And to those who have always been there for me, well, you know…

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