Greg T. Spielberg

Sharing natural resources

In writing on June 4, 2010 at 4:24 pm

A journalist is nothing without good information resources. Starting today, I'm sharing all the link I've ever used in published work. Photo courtesy of Suzy Lafferty, who's next door at suzysatsuma.com

In writing about MBA bloggers (to be published later this month), I got a chance to speak with a lot of B-School students. Central to the story is writers’ desire to document their experience and provide useful information to readers. This made me think a lot about my own blog and how I can provide useful information. The MBAers approach the information question from two perspectives: Students sharing info on the B-School experience and future business leaders developing thoughts on their professional space. I’m coming from the perspective of a journalist. Here’s what I’m doing:

Today, I created a resource section in the primary menu bar. This section will be a collection of all the links I’ve ever used in my published stories. This section includes colleagues’ work that inspired my own, vital statistics that form the framework for the story and color that has helped me add flavor. Links are curated by topic and include the author or source.

Soon, I will add “conversations,” a section that highlights the people I’ve spoken with who helped me build my story and permanently expand my thinking. It’s very rare that I’m not greatly influenced by contemporaries I talk to in person or on the phone. I want to credit them and, more importantly share the knowledge transmission.

I’m not sure what the third section will be yet. Either a collection or useful government, trade and statistical databases, my growing contact list or a bibliography of scholarly essays.

Inspiration

The inspiration for this addition comes from two instances. At Mizzou, I wrote my thesis on the value of building community — from a reader perspective, journalist perspective, branding, advertising, infrastructure and bottom-line perspective. Although classic media-economic thinkers gave me the necessary groundwork to move onto next-generation models like community, no one was actually writing about community. I had to pull theory from e-commerce scholars, community scholars, branding scholars and other sources. Reading the work was fun, synthesizing it was challenging, finding relevant work was brutally time consuming. I recommended Mizzou create a database of past masters’ students sources so that, in the future, J-Schoolers could more efficiently build on the work of others. That’s what I hope to do here — especially in the community and experience space, which are the two most important topics for our industry.

The second time I wish I had access to a great database of information was at BusinessWeek. My editor, an Associated Press veteran, would assign me a story like this: “Find out how the recession is affecting prices for consumer goods.” Go. Go where? I spent full days in front of the computer trying to track down the right experts, right associations, right databases. Again: Brutally time consuming. I hope my resource section helps journalists move more quickly with more valuable resources.

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