Book Reports, Portfolio

Tech Savvy?

Cheran Ratnam

Journalism next: A practical guide to digital reporting and publishing

Mark Briggs

April 1, 2012

Tech Savvy?

“What do you do?” is a very common question I get these days, especially given that I have to catch up with old friends as well as make new ones. Most of the time I give a generic answer like “I am in graduate school”. I get mixed reactions when I tell people that I am doing a master’s in journalism. Some ask me with a frown, “What do you hope to do with that?”

I have started to notice a pattern in these conversations regarding my choice of majoring in Journalism. Often, I find myself trying to defend my choice against gloomy attitudes people express about the future of journalism. In his book, Journalism next: A practical guide to digital reporting and publishing, author Mark Briggs attempts to encourage current journalists as well as students by giving a positive outlook on the future of journalism.

The author addresses the issues of the gloomy out look that surrounds journalism and provides advice and motivation by encouraging journalists to embrace new technology in what he considers to be an evolutionary stage in journalism. The author is a former interactive news manager for the Tacoma News Tribune, and a Ford Fellow in entrepreneurial journalism at the Poynter Institute. (

“Eleven chapters appear in three parts or units. Basics include the role of web workers, advanced blogging, crowd-powered collaboration, microblogging, and going mobile. Multimedia turns to visual storytelling with photographs, making audio journalism visible, and telling stories with video. Finally, editing and decision making adds three final chapters on data-driven journalism, managing news as a conversation, and building a digital audience for news” (8. JOURNALISM. 2010)

The author provides valuable insight on a variety of tools that can be useful for journalists. His ability to relate to varying age groups and experience levels enables the reader to realize the knowledge that one might already posses and helps find ways to better one’s journalistic effectiveness. “Twitter is the most popular microblogging service. In fact, the platform is so popular that probably more people have heard of Twitter than have heard the term “microblogging” (Briggs, M. 2009 p 95).

The book can be used as a useful resource for those who aspire to become tech Savvy. The author gives basic step-by-step directions and suggestions on how to improve one’s online presence in the ever-changing arena of social media. The simple language and the easy to use structure of the book add to the value of the book’s use as a comprehensive handbook for digital journalism.

It can be said that one can get a startup crash course in digital journalism from reading the book. However, it has the potential to be out dated, given the rapid technological change that we are experiencing today. The author provides the old-fashioned journalists ample encouragement and evidence to start using the freely available online tools to keep up with a tech savvy generation.

While most of the information and the tools discussed were nothing new to me, I admire the level of journalistic insight that the author provide when discussing the advantages of using these resources. Therefore, I would recommend this book to those who are both tech savvy as well as those who “struggle” with technology.

References: APA 6th Edition

Briggs, M. (n.d). Journalism next: A practical guide to digital reporting and publishing. United States of America: CQ Press.

BULLARD, S. (2011). Journalism Next: A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 88(1), 215-216.

Journalism Next./The Digital Journalist’s Handbook. (2010). Journalism & Mass Communication Educator,65(2), 193-195.

JOURNALISM NEXT. (2010). Quill, 98(2), 11.

8. JOURNALISM. (2010). Communication Booknotes Quarterly, 41(3), 137-141. doi:10.1080/10948007.2010.486646


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