Students in my “Media Projects” class are getting practice learning complex, new systems quickly. We’ve learned Blender 3D, we’ve started on Inform 7, and later we’ll move to Flash. My sister (or possibly her husband, who sometimes uses her e-mail address) sent me a link to an editorial on what it’s like to learn a new software system while you’re also dealing with the daily deadlines that define the news business. I hope that my New Media Journalism students will be well-prepared to excel in an environment where their ability to do their job depends so heavily on their ability to adapt to new tools.
Many of you can relate to the learning curve and
butterflies that come with switching over to ever more complex and
powerful work technology. All of that comes with a few added wrinkles
in this business.
Because we create our products entirely anew
seven days a week, we can’t ease the transition by working ahead or
catching up when things settle down. Every day brings a new race
against the clock.
Someone at our place likened it to changing a
tire on a car while it’s hurtling down the highway. I like to think of
it in terms of the movie “Speed”: The bus doesn’t blow up if you don’t
But many of us have been through this drill
before, nearly a decade ago when the system we’re getting ready to junk
was the next big thing. And while the new system we’re going live on
requires increasingly fine-tuned skills, the circumstances last time
were more challenging. (Pat Howard, Erie Times-News)