A True Original
Much of what I know about Web publishing and journalism, I learned as a carpenter. Examine requirements, select quality materials, learn reliable methods and take advantage of accumulated craftsmanship.
The particulars of Web development, I first learned while working as a journalist. Compared to a programmer's approach, focused more on technique, or a graphic designer's approach focused on visual orientation, I approached Web development to meet functional requirements. As a journalist, I became an Internet super user who needed to easily store, analyze and share large amounts of diverse information in the distributed network of the Internet.
Public radio managers first recruited me to work as a journalist. While working as a carpenter, I'd volunteered extensively at a community radio station. As a staff producer, my job focused on building an audience for a local cutaway from the morning NPR news.
My solution was to bring more sources onto the air. I scheduled a steady stream of interviews for the morning show. I carried the microphone into the field, engineering and hosting countless hours of remote broadcasts.
After a few years working as a radio journalist, hosting a live radio show, conducting remote broadcasts and producing for regional, national and sometimes international audiences, the knack for storytelling landed me work as a print reporter. Print journalism confirmed what I'd learned in broadcast work -- people are hungry for information about the world around them. When the Internet emerged as a popular resource in the 1990s, my experience in rapid-deployment live broadcasting, and as a daily print journalist alerted me to the value of new quick-access network publishing tools.
Citizen journalist in a noisy crowd
Journalism changed quickly in the years since I first worked in radio. Journalism changed because the ways people feed their hunger for information were changing. People now can go more places than ever to browse a constantly expanding smorgasbord of facts and opinion. To capture the attention of an audience in such a noisy environment, a storyteller today must know what the audience wants.
Whether the subject focuses on public policy, business activity or popular interests, audiences today want two things from media -- an empathetic voice and a quick, comprehensive view of trustworthy information. Thing is, quick and comprehensive can be diametrically opposing requirements. As a Web developer and a story teller, I learned to put information on the surface, where it can be easily found, yet to provide depth with user-friendly interfaces that extend access to information.
In dozens of publications, on scores of radio stations and on the Internet, my work as a journalist has informed, enlightened and enriched lives. My approach is to understand the subject I’m working with, the sources who inform the subject and the audience for whom I’m telling a story.
In a noisy media market, my unique background as a community journalist, multimedia producer and Web developer has shaped a truly original approach to mass communication. Contact me today to discuss how my experience can be of assistance to you.
-- David Collins (e-mail)