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Online Awesomeness

With the DNT postponing my coming & time running short, I find that this is probably the best thing that could have happened for me!

Even though this blog was supposed to be dedicated to the DNT, I find that it's now much more AWESOME since the DNT cancelled my visit (for good reasons, I might add), I got the chance to talk with Jeremy Iggers, a thriving online executive director for the Twin Cities Daily Planet!!

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It was VERY short notice (stress on the word very) when I emailed Iggers about interviewing him for my blog - thanks to my Prof. J. Hatcher for helping me contact Iggers! As I said, Iggers is the executive director of the Twin Cities Daily Planet - Local News for Global Citizens. He responded to my email very quickly and gave me the awesome opportunity to do a little Q&A with him!

Below are 14 questions I asked Iggers about his life, journalism, career, and Web site!

1) Why do you not work for the Star Tribune anymore?
I opted for a buyout from the Star Tribune because I found my work on the Twin Cities Media Alliance and the Twin Cities Daily Planet much more challenging and rewarding than working at the Star Tribune, and because I didn't see much of a future at the Star Tribune.

2) In what ways is the Internet changing print journalism?
In economic terms, the rise of the Internet has destroyed the business model that made print journalism possible. Advertisers now have ways to market their products without funding journalism.

3) What type of multimedia journalism is most effective?
I don't think there is a simple answer to that question. Often it is a combination of text and images that is most effective - text to convey the facts, images to convey the emotional impact.

4) Do yo think that Internet is making it harder for journalists to find full-time jobs?
In the short term, definitely yes, and probably in the long term as well. Thousands of newspaper jobs have disappeared, and many more will go in the next few years. Newspapers will hire fewer new staffers, and at much lower wages.
**side note by me (Lauren) - notice how he said they [newspapers] will be going away & in my DNT blog they were cutting back on their staff with layoffs & budget cuts!**

5) Do you think making cut backs on writers/staff at newspapers effects their ability to produce a quality paper?
Yes.

6) What do you think the focus on news and in news rooms is? Has that changed with these financial issues and cutbacks?
Increasingly, newspapers have to put the bottom line ahead of the public interest. They focus their limited resources on covering the most affluent communities, and on the kinds of stories that will attract the readers their advertisers want to reach, instead of focusing on what's most important for the public to know.

7) Do you loose money by posting your news online?
My publication, the Twin Cities Daily Planet, is online-only, so if we didn't post online, we wouldn't exist at all. There is a lot of debate about whether newspapers made a big mistake by giving away their content for free on the internet. There are some good arguments on both sides, but I think they really had no other choice. If newspapers protected their content by requiring subscriptions to online content, readers would simply turn to other information sources that are free - even if they don't offer as much information.

8) Compared to a newsroom setting, what is more challenging (the newsroom or online)?
In the glory days of newspaper, life was much easier than it is today in print newsrooms or online - and right now both are very challenging. Online is much more exciting, because the tools are constantly evolving.

9) How do you go about advertising on your site and getting word of your site out to the public?
We can't really afford to advertise, so we swap ads with other media, such as public radio stations and other websites. We also become media sponsors of film festivals and art fairs, so that our logo is seen by a lot of people. And we encourage our media partners to link to our website.

10) Are your contacts throughout your career your main source of information now?

I actually am not involved in the day-to-day operation of the Daily Planet, - I am the executive director of the Twin Cities Media Alliance, the non-profit parent of the Daily Planet - but I am finding that working in the online world has brought me into contact with a whole new set of information sources.

11) How often is the site updated, and how do you decide what gets cut?
The site is updated every evening, and the oldest stories on the page are removed. But we are trying to move towards continuous updating - whenever new stories are ready to publish, they go up on the site.

12) Who edits your Web site?
We have one editor, Mary Turck, and two part-time assistant editors - arts editor Jay Gabler, and neighborhood outreach editor Lisa Peterson-de la Cueva.

13) How did you come up with your site?
The initial funding for the site came from a grant from J-Lab, also called the Institute for Interactive Journalism. They have an annual New Voices competition for grants to fund projects that bring new voices into the media mainstream, and use new media.

14) How many people work with you on the site?
Like I mentioned above, I don't work directly on the site, but in addition to our three editors, we have a part-time operations manager, and we have lots of citizen journalists - over 30 active ones.

***Read more about other online publications that are successful, such as the UMD Statesman, at Print Media in the Digital World blog***
**Interested in interviews? Check out my interview with Author Brian Freeman that I got to sit in on at the DNT in my Award Winning Author blog**
*click on Jeremy's picture to learn specifically more about him and to read of his own articles*
side note - Jeremy Iggers picture was supplied by the:
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Have questions about my Q&A? Well, email me, Lauren Lundeen, about my blog!