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Mojo is more than a fun word to say

My professor e-mailed me this story from the Washington Post, A Newspaper Chain Sees Its Future, and It’s Online and Hyper-Local. I replied and gave her my thoughts. I’ll post part of my e-mail here just because it kind of sums up my outlook on the mojo (mobile online journalist) position and also the future of news.

(Mojos) benefit from being “embedded” in the community instead of tied to a desk or a beat. The way I see it, while writing about a hunks calendar (for example) might not be the most “newsworthy” event and it’s not going to win a Pulitzer, it means something to those involved, which hits home with my mantra that everything’s important to someone… I think part of the shift that needs to take place in the newspaper industry is how we decide what’s newsworthy and to whom (and more importantly, how we allocate ever dwindling resources to covering those stories). Readers can and will get the information they want. If the local paper isn’t providing it, they’ll find it somewhere else or they’ll use the Web to create it themselves.

I have some professors who think mojos are a bad idea, some who are reserving judgment and others who say, “why the hell not?”

The way I see it, and this was the way I explained it to my classmates when the topic came up recently, it might not be the solution — in fact, if anything it’s only part of the solution — but it’s something different. It’s a risk, and I think it’s a risk in the right direction. As the saying goes, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you keep getting what you’ve always gotten. I love that newspapers are diving head first into new media. Once the shake-out of “well this works, this not so much” happens and we figure out what it is we’re selling, to whom and on what platform, we’ll be well placed to deliver the news that’s important to people faster, better and with more depth and context than ever. Isn’t that why we all got into this business?

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