Ideas and Digital Storytelling; positive journalistic inspiration

AdamWestbrookIt was the buzz generated after being allocated my first article on international student fees at my first news meeting of The Boar that I spend my life searching to recreate today.

A fraction of that excitement has been generated by this ebook by Adam Westbrook which I’ve just finished. It’s free, only 90 short and readable pages and you can download it here for free. Yipee.

This compilation and curation of Adam’s posts into his top ideas on digital storytelling make a cheerful read among the industry pessimism. It’s a breath of fresh air; it might be a little generic and stereotypically ‘advice-collumn’ in places, but that’s no real disadvantage.

It is clear that he shares one of my fundamental journalistic beliefs (which I will happily argue with anyone) – the digital revolution will create as much, possibly more, opportunity for jobs as it destroys. Thank goodness there are people who realise the challenge of the media revolution, and do not remain in despair regarding the print industry and changes in news-consumption habits.

He talks about 20 topics including visual storytelling (including simple video pointers), ‘fuck’-ing the average viewer, the changing ideas of publishing, making money in journalism, quality of content and constant innovation. It sounds so simply prolific it couldn’t possibly be anything anyone hasn’t said before. Nevertheless, it’s struck a chord with me like a slap in the face.

What are you doing? Why aren’t you doing all of this, in some shape or form, now? The media definitely won’t wait for you. – my brain, October 22, 2013.

My favourite chapter is on becoming an expert. It’s also a fantastic way to make excellent contacts as a journalist. Inspired by the story of Chris Guillebeau and his $100 start-up stories, Westbrook suggests the best way to become an expert is to spend $100 taking out as many experts as you can for coffee, and listening to what that have to say. As he notes, that’s maybe 15-20 one-to-one sessions with the best people in the field. Fantastic. It’s only coffee right? You can learn a lot from coffee, and I’ve tried to push this more and more with my contacts in recent months. It’s a whole lot easier now I’m living in London too (and working for Pret!)

It might sound a little happy-go-lucky, but Westwood has his route firmly planned out on the road less travelled. He offers opportunity, common sense, ideas, and above all, inspiration. The get-out-and-do-it, work-hard-and-you-will-be-a-success, do-life-your-own-way philosophy. Its a comforting thought in the darkness, and has filled me with a much-needed boost of ‘get up and go’.

Here’s his current journal, here’s his current website and portfolio, and here is a link to his old website and all his previous blog posts. It’s clear, attractive, visual and positive. I think I’ve fallen in love with who I want to become, but in the male form.

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Filed under Journalism, Media, Philosophy

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