Friday, November 07, 2003

Newsroom blogs:
Some news researchers have been getting into blogging, and the results are there for all to see:
Diane Lamb of the News and Record in Greensboro NC, has started The N&R Newsroom Blog. It has useful links and tips and interesting articles for newsroom staff.
Leigh Montgomery and Christian Science Monitor staff are now publishing to a new version of LibLog. Last month, Liblog was cited by The Guardian's Weblog as a useful site (look under October 14).
Of course, our intrepid Webmaster, Jessica Baumgart, also has a blog. She's the librarian for the Harvard news service.
And Liz Donovan of the Miami Herald started WeBlog, a blog on The Herald's Web site. (to add to her Behind the News blog.)

Advice from the listserve:
I've been planning to at least post useful messages from the NewsLib listserve here, and haven't been. Thanks to Jessica for at least keeping it up a little.

Here are a couple of important messages, though: they came in response to a NewsLib request from a non-news librarian about how she could find out more information about becoming a news librarian:

Hi All and especially newcomers to the list,

Because this is the second request this week for information about our profession, I hope you all will indulge me a moment to respond as the Fearless Leader of the SLA News Division and head cheerleader for news librarianship.

Reading this list is a good first step. We also have a wonderful
website: which has a lot of very good information about what we do and who we are.The News Division puts on a very full program every year at the SLA annual conference, as well as periodic regional workshops and programs around the country and the world.

The best advice I can give those of you looking to get into the field is that because it is a tiny profession with a few openings per year, networking is the very best way to get your foot in the door. For those of you non-newsies who are in the library field or are in library school and are interested in what we do, contact your local daily newspaper and ask if they have a library. Most news librarians that I know will be happy to take some time to show off their place and chat about the news
business. I know that I may be putting some of you news librarians on the spot and I really don't mean to, but I love having guests - they are always amenable to whatever small amount of time I have to spend and I usually learn as much as they do.

Some of the basics that we look for when we are hiring staff are: a daily newspaper reading habit firmly in place; a good background in research and the Internet; a keenly developed sense of humor; and an ability to roll with whatever comes your way.

I look forward to welcoming you all to the News Division. If you can come to Nashville in June, you'll also find out that we throw a great party!

Linda Henderson
Chair and Czarina, SLA News Division

...and this...
I have been the Librarian at the Dispatch in Columbus Ohio since 1974. At the start I had 3 clerical staff. Now I have 5 professional librarians (MLS) and 1 clerical staff. Over time the number of professional jobs tend to grow in some news libraries (not all but some) We do lots of archiving and data research here as well as own & operate the editorial Intranet. (2 of my folks do web things) I do data analysis, obtain public records, political polling, 2 others do research & archiving (one of whom does geographic information systems (GIS) for us --maps). One librarian was on the project team for the latest reporting project this newspaper did. One of my librarians has a background in TV and I am trying to work him into the TV station we own.

Sounds like we recruited this staff from the New York Times doesn't it?- NOT!

1 library assistant in a community college (she finished her MLS this year)
1 TV broadcast technician from Fox sports (new MLS)
1 Public librarian from a small branch library near where I live (who was a police reporter )
1 Ohio Chamber of Commerce staffer (former reporter) who wanted to be a news librarian- she is now the Asst. Library Dir)
1 Clerical staff from bank operation (who invented our Intranet).

These people, of whom I very proud, had few technical skills, little or no Nexis skills, most had no news experience,none new much if anything about news libraries.

What sets them apart is a keen interest in the world round them (its shows in an interview), they REALLY like people especially the librarian helping people find stuff part, self discipline, attention to detail, the ability to do any task accurately and completely. Finally a great sense of humor (I
really don't know the reason for that but it is true).

Make contact with a news librarian near you, no one I know in the business would discourage you. It's not what you know but what you are capable of (and someone to see it)...and of course Who You Know.

Good luck,
Jim Hunter

Isn't it interesting how a sense of humor is prominent in both of these? I'd have to agree, it's essential in this business.
-- Liz Donovan, Miami Herald and SLA News Division publications chair.


Post a Comment

<< Home