I am in that limbo that we find ourselves in only a few times in life — well, some more than others. And journalists, I guess we get more practice than most.
I gave notice a week ago. I’m leaving my current job next week. And I’ll be starting another one the week after that. It’s a nice spot to be in: On one side, people are remembering me fondly and on the other, they are excited about all the potential I bring to them.
I’m headed to the City of Glendale (AZ) to run the City’s digital communications… I’ll be in charge of the city’s websites, social media, and whatever else we cook up in the future. I’m excited about joining a team that understands the power of transparency and community building.
So long, ASU
I’ve been honored to work at ASU, Cronkite and the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism, where I’ve been the Digital Director. I’ve had a wonderful time here for the past 5 years, but it’s a good time to step up to a new challenge.
I’m approaching this as an opportunity to figure out how Civic Information can be the new Community Journalism.
Some might not consider this critical journalism, but I do think there is a great opportunity to provide information, filling a gap left by struggling news organizations. I’ll be right there alongside the people of Glendale, residents, business owners, city workers, rooting for the city to do well, to thrive, to be fair, just and transparent. In the lexicon of journalism futurists, I’ll be a stakeholder too. I am no longer a detached observer.
One thing leads to another
Not sure exactly how it will all play out, but it sure feels like a natural progression from my early days in journalism working for a group of smart weekly newspapers in northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.
I’m not the first to say it, but it’s worth repeating: The purpose of journalism is to give people the information they need to make better decisions about their lives and society. The first loyalty to both journalists and government is to citizens. In a world awash in information, there has been no more important time for those of us with journalistic skills to help people understand and help them find their voice.
To get ready for my new role, I’ve been studying city websites and civic social media presence. There are a few good ones, but they fall off quickly. Austin, Portland … then not much. Even big cities have big issues when it comes to how they present themselves online. Some places, like Boston, are putting a lot of time and attention into social media, but that leaves out a large percentage of residents.
It’s going to be an interesting and fun challenge. And, until the transition is complete, I’m going to enjoy this nice warm spot in the middle.