I'd been meaning to get this blog up and running for a while, but had been swamped and just hadn't gotten around to it. So, in a backhanded way, I guess I have Allbritton Communications to thank for inspiring me to get Digital Man up and running.
Today's gutting of TBD was surprising only in that it happened so quickly after the company moved the TBD staff under the WJLA org structure just a few weeks back. Apparently, laying off half the staff is the company's version of a "mid-course correction." Would hate to see what a complete strategic overhaul would entail.
I'll write a post in the coming days about my own take on what happened with TBD, but right now, that's not top of mind. Here's what is: In a few weeks, a number of TBD's talented, forward-thinking journalists are going to be hitting the job market, and I truly hope those who are who hiring these days will take a close look at these folks. So wanted to spend a few posts telling you about them. Today, we'll start with the folks from Steve Buttry's community engagement team. Tomorrow, I'll talk about the reporters, editors and photogs who will also likely be looking for work.
A few caveats on the posts that will follow in the next day or so: First, no one at TBD asked to be mentioned in these posts -- or, for that matter, even knew I was writing them -- so don't read too much into their inclusion. Second, while some positions are being eliminated, people in those positions are eligible to apply for some new open positions at the company. So I don't know that all of the people I'm mentioning will actually want to depart from TBD. Some might choose to stay, in the same way that I also might choose to give up Chipotle. Not likely, but possible. Anyway, without further ado, here are some folks that would immediately make any staff better.
Mandy Jenkins, social media
Mandy taught us old hats a ton about the proper way to use social media. If you view it merely as a tool to push out the content you're producing, you're missing the big picture. Social media is a news-gathering tool as much as it's a distribution tool. She was a key player in TBD's well-regarded coverage of the Discovery Channel hostage situation, during which she organized and created a photo gallery out of on-the-scene pics posted on readers on Twitter, and using Foursquare to help find people who were at the scene. She set the tone TBD used on Twitter, a more conversational, customer-oriented tone that helped us build a strong following there. Equally important: Mandy's can-do attitude, and desire to preserve and improve journalism in the new world. Here's her blog, resume and Twitter feed.
Jeff Sonderman, community engagement
Jeff was one of the leads on building TBD's relationships with hundreds of local bloggers and organizing its blog network. Jeff knows that the future requires media companies to completely rethink and rebuild their relationships with readers, so that -- in a sense -- they're no longer merely readers, but participants in the process of creating journalism. Jeff will bring more ideas to the table in an hour than most people in journalism will in a day. Here's his site, resume and Twitter feed.
Lisa Rowan, community engagement
Lisa brought talent, enthusiasm and less of a background in daily journalism to TBD (which was a good thing). Knowing media but not having resided in it the way many at TBD had allowed her to bring unique ideas and perspectives to the table. There was no task she didn't attack with a good attitude and great skill. She helped build TBD's community network -- hell, she's in it as well -- and helped organize and coordinate many of our crowd-sourcing efforts. She's terrific, even if she's a Phillies fan. Here's a resume and her Twitter feed.
Dan Victor, community engagement
Dan also did a ton of work building out TBD's blog network, especially in sports, and played in a key role in our crowdsourcing and social media efforts. Like others on the CE team, Dan was loaded with ideas. And when presented with new ideas, he does what a many people in legacy media don't: he talks about the opportunities, not just the potential pitfalls. If you're looking for someone to challenge conventional wisdom and think forward, Dan's a great hire. He's also a Phillies fan -- what's up with these hiring practices, Buttry? -- but still awesome. Here's his site, clips and Twitter feed.
Nathasha Lim, community engagement
Nathasha joined the CE team a bit later than everyone else, but got up to speed quickly, stepping in to recruit food and dining bloggers (among others). She also assisted the site's A&E coverage by writing a ton and building relationships with the food and dining community, which led to some excellent live chats like this one. Like everyone on the CE team, Nathasha's attitude, energy and willingness to try new things was invaluable. Here's Nathasha's site and Twitter feed.
Tomorrow, will touch on the excellent editors, reporters and photographers who are also likely looking for new gigs.
Also, if anyone wants to reach out to me for any more information on these folks -- or anyone on the TBD staff, for that matter -- feel free to contact me at jim.brady(at)gmail(dot)com.