2008′s new technologies journalists should be using

Reading Wired.com’s 6 New Web Technologies of 2008 You Need to Use Now, I wondered what the list would look like if tailored to journalism. As the Wired article admits, some great technologies that are critical today have been around longer, but rose to prominence in ’08. All are important for Journalism 2.0, some more than others.

1. Identity management: Journalists, and anyone who publishes online, should have an easily identifiable online persona. This is especially important for younger journalists who need to have something of substance return when a prospective employer does a Google search on their name (besides MySpace party pics). Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter? Many journalists and news professionals found these social networks in 2008.

For site developers, are you using OpenID, Google Friend Connect or Facebook Connect? See Newsmixer.us for an excellent example of how to implement this game-changing opportunity.

2. Lifestreaming: Online audiences are now comfortable with a “drip, drip, drip” flow of information from people they trust. Journalists should recognize this and work to connect with networks of informed readers and provide them with short updates – call it “newsstreaming.” Beatblogging emerged as a proven model for this strategy in 2008. And hordes of newspapers jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, realizing the potential for connecting with an audience with a new form of writing (microblogging).

3. Location Awareness: As you might expect, I see a huge opportunity here. Most local news sites pride themselves on being more local than anyone else. But there’s a lot more to being local than covering a council meeting, especially for a new breed of information consumers armed with location-aware mobile devices. Can they access your news, information and advertising based on the neighborhood they are logging in from? Are you producing the right mix of news and information for this new medium? If not, are you planning to in 2009?

Honorable mention: Wired also listed HTML 5, Google Chrome and Firefox 3 in its list of 6. Suffice it to say journalists should be using Firefox (with plug-ins and add-ons) for web browsing, using cloud computing for collaboration like Google Docs and online calendar tools (Chrome’s strength) and be aware of changing web design standards like HTML 5.

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