LocalNewser standupkid's dispatches from the frontlines of local news


How Local Newsers Can “Crush It”

Drinking Wine with Gary V:  Watch the Whole Interview on Vinitrek.com

Drinking Wine with Gary V: Watch the Whole Interview on Vinitrek.com

I can clearly remember the first time I saw Gary Vaynerchuk online.  I wish I could say I knew immediately that this guy was going to big, but truthfully, my reaction was "is he nuts?"  And I went about telling everyone to check him out.  That, in a nutshell, is how Vaynerchuk says the web works to build your brand.  And for journalists, who've long been told to do a good job and leave the promotion to the promo department, Gary V's lesson is critical.

I've just read Vaynerchuk's book, Crush It!, and found it filled with useful information and ideas on surviving--and thriving--in the new digital world we're all competing in (whether we want to accept that or not).  [I've added the book to the picks you'll find in the Amazon box on this page, and your copy is a click away, at a bargain price--and yes, Amazon will kick a few cents back my way to help keep the LocalNewser empire watered and fed.]

I knew Vaynerchuk's book would have a lot of talk about hustle and drive and passion, but I was surprised at how much time he spent talking about journalism: "everyone who is screaming that journalism is dead because newspapers and magazine are folding is insane," he writes.  "The old platforms are in trouble, but that's the best thing that could happen to journalists...the good ones, anyway."

And let's face it, if you're here reading my ramblings, you've got to be one of the "good ones," right?  Well... you're ambitious and unafraid to look the future straight in the face and to try and figure out how to work with it instead of digging your heels in and trying to fight against it.  And Vaynerchuk believes those of us willing to to do the hard work now will be richly rewarded.  It's--to sound a bit Gary V-like--go time.  This is the opportunity of a generation to re-create what local news is and how people get the information they truly want.  It's a chance for us to redefine what it means to be a local newser.  And maybe it means finding a far more satisfying way of doing the job that we can't help but be attracted to.

crush-it-20090908-125153"All talented journalists have to do is take advantage of the technological and cultural shifts that are sinking their media platforms like leaky ships, go into business for themselves, and crush it," he writes, and then follows up with a fascinating list of ideas on how journos can collaborate, create companies, and produce a new kind of journalism (and perhaps make a fortune in the process, if you create a concept that takes off).  It's a worthwhile read, and I encourage you to put it on your list to Santa right now.

One of Gary V's ideas is, essentially, building an All-Star team of known local journalists who get out from under their old media roof and start working together. It's a lot like an idea advanced by Michael Rosenblum, who suggested that star journalists (and if you're halfway decent at the local news game, I hope you've made a name for yourself in the community--essentially built your brand along with your equity in the tv station) should gather together and pool their talents, taking on projects (assignments) and being paid to do so.  "Nowhere is it written in stone that journalists must be perpetually poor," writes Rosenblum (who, should you get a chance, you absolutely must hear speak in person).  "The world of journalism has been overturned by the Internet Revolution.  There’s an opportunity here to reorganize the way our world works. Let’s seize it. Time to own the product and take care of ourselves."

Ask some of the long-tenured reporters and anchors (and directors and producers, etc.) who've lost their jobs over the last eighteen months what being a good and valued employee gets you.  At best, they wait until the week after Christmas to fire you.  At worst, your own boss never even bothers to speak to you--your agent gives you the news, the security guys walk you to the door.  (Cardboard box included FREE!)

I don't know about you, but I'd much rather work my ass off and Crush It--not for them, but for me.

Great interview on the book's release with Gary Vaynerchuk and my good Brooklyn pal Dan Patterson at ABC:

For some tips on avoiding the traps on a restaurant wine list...and a great find from Portugal for under $15, check out our Vinitrek interview with Gary V.