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We need a staffed news room. Marketing people tasked with planning events and campaigns can not staff a news room.

For quite a while Jamie Oberdick has been reading blog posts, condensing them to a certain extent and collecting important ones in one place for an easy read. He also links out to an interesting outsider story everyday in a way that encourages staff discussion in TLT blog space. He posts weather to twitter. This is useful, well intentioned, and well executed. He does it solo.

Could we hire Jamie a staff? Let a group of student and part time staff read all our blogs, all our newswires, our listservs, our twitters and forums. Let the staff condense and aggregate. Let them translate technical talk. Let them check and verify facts just like a real news room.

Don't use the staff for other hair-brained ideas. A communication group like this needs to communicate, not plan marketing events. They need to send information regularly through multiple channels- so staff can call a phone number to hear a tape; subscribe and get the same condensed information through twitter on phone or laptop; subscribe to a "condensed books" version in a blog; receive a newswire email. If we have staff without internet access, distribute a daily flyer. Multiple channels, consistent information, at regular intervals (I'd hope for twice daily).

If technology isn't solving the problem, use something that will. People can check facts. People can edit and condense (possibly to 140 characters). People can translate technical updates and relay the impact in understandable form. Computers don't do that. And all of our people are not capable of creating clear, concise text.

EDIT: News aggregation is the future. It's obvious. Why pay reporters when everyone is a reporter? Pay people to collect and make sense of the reports. See: Times Extra: The New York Times Opens Web Front Page to Outside Content. This is a no-brainer....

Penn State
April 18, Symposium 2009; reimagine.
New content. Symposium 2008.Digital Commons at Penn State. Improve the workplace; hire for variety.

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