Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

The question every journalist must ask…

Posted in Journalism by Adam Westbrook on March 25, 2010

All the great innovations of the past, from the factory produced car, to the Apple computer all began by asking a simple question.

And now, in the grip of the digital revolution and the great upheaval in journalism, it is a question journalists must ask themselves if they’re to create some of the much needed innovations which will determine the future of news.

At last week’s Digital Storytelling Conference in London we showed a short film to get people asking this very question. The results, in the Future of News Meetup shortly afterwards, were really interesting.

What if…?” is a tried and tested Lateral Thinking exercise used by innovators for decades. Asking “What If..?” does some really important things:

  • it gets you to¬†highlight the conventions and assumptions which dominate the news industry
  • it gets you to wonder what would happen if one or more of those just weren’t true
  • it engages your imagination to come up with new ideas
  • it guarantees your ideas will be more original and leftfield

If more journalists asked “what if..?“, we’d see more and more new ideas for the future of journalism emerge.¬† It’s a question we’ll ask every month at the Future of News Meetups in London: if you’d like to join and take part click here to sign up.

Putting some Fresh Eyes on journalism

Posted in Fresh eyes series by Adam Westbrook on February 25, 2010

What happens if you ask a cinematographer, a musician, a branding expert, a designer and a programmer about the future of news?

Might sound odd, but the idea of colliding disparate disciplines has a history of sparking innovation. Johannes Gutenberg, for example, wanted to come up with something which combined the power of the wine press, with the flexibility of the coin punch..and came up with the printing press. Mercedes-Benz brought in someone completely random – the watch maker Swatch – and together they came up with the Smart Car.

Getting an outsider’s approach sheds new light on old problems, and reveals tips, tricks and viewpoints those of us inside the bubble will ever think of.

So all next week I’ll be getting those very experts to cast their eyes over the future of news. What can us hacks learn from a film maker, or a branding guru? You’ll find out right here on Monday.

Presentation: 5 new career paths for journalists

Posted in Journalism by Adam Westbrook on February 23, 2010

I’m busy working on a new e-book, to be released in May 2010, which I hope will be a big help to journalists everywhere.

In it, I’m revealing ten new ways for journalists to do what they love and make money, in the face of the digital revolution and the economic downturn. With fewer traditional jobs, and more journalism graduates than ever before, the maths just don’t add up.

So what can the next generation of journalists do? Think laterally and outside the box– which is exactly what the new book will be all about. I’ve delved into entrepreneurship, life design and tech; looked at how other people are exploiting the internet for profit – then applied it all to journalism.

Earlier this month I shared some of my early ideas with journalism students at Kingston University in London. Here’s a shortened version of the presentation I delivered, with five (OK, six!) of the ten new career ideas briefly explained.

The book will be packed with practical step-by-step guides to fulfilling them – make sure you subscribe to the blog (in the right hand sidebar) for updates!

UPDATE: It’s having trouble with slide #2 but the rest of the presentation is fine!