“Passionate and always in beta”

… is how Cory Haik, executive producer for News Innovations and Strategic Projects at the Washington Post, describes her approach to life.

“I obsessively survey my landscape and the path I’m going down. You come to a lot of forks in the road. I believe in making choices and I believe, for the most part, it’s all developmental. Meaning that sometimes we pick the path that seemed right at the time. Or right for the 20 miles ahead that we could see.

But then we go down that path and it might not work out. So one has to get to the next fork and choose again. I’m not a real turn-back-around gal. I just try to get to the next fork quickly…

Make a choice, pay attention on the path, look ahead as far you can, anticipate your next opportunity to choose. But don’t apologize unless you’ve really screwed it up. Because generally there is an opportunity to choose again and make it different and better and more meaningful. Journalism has always been a process that way, if you think about it.”

Another favorite part of mine: She says asking good questions and being able to manage on a larger scale are two of her key skills. On Forbes.

End of an era: Steve Jobs resigns

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in square holes. The ones who see things differently.

Robert Padbury, Designer at Apple, via Time, which has collected some reactions of Apple employees to the news that Jobs is resigning as the company’s CEO. He will stay with Apple as chairman of the board.

The Wall Street Journal has collected some memorable quotes by Jobs himself.

Best interview technique: Awkward silence

If you keep quiet for long enough, (interview subjects) will almost always start talking. And by then they’re a little nervous, so they often say something interesting.

Megan McArdle, blogger at The Atlantic, explains her favorite interview technique to Fishbowl DC.

She also says the best piece of advice she’s ever received from an editor was not to fall in love with your own writing. That clever figure of speech you really want to include probably is not nearly as clever as you think.

Photo via Smiling_da_vinci on Flickr.


To read Megan’s advice on what to do when an interview tanks, and why you should allow your writing to suck, head over to Fishbowl DC. Journos-in-training, this is one to bookmark.

Quote of the Day: Mohamedian countries and elsewhere

“… the most important word in this sentence is ‘reportedly,’ the key to a million kingdoms of bullshit.”

From a brilliant parody by Sarah Carr of a New York Times article written by Rod Nordland. I want to print this out and put it on my desk.

Also features such gems as “Here, there must be a mention of a taxi driver because we’re discussing Arabs.” Read the original NYT article, you’ll be shocked how accurate the parody is.

Hat tip to Kareem Shaheen.

Quote of the Day: Coal industry “aims” for compliance

“There are a lot of laws and regulations that the coal industry has to abide by… While we’re not perfect, we aim to abide by those laws and regulations.”

A spokeswoman for Alpha Natural Resources, which merged with Massey Energy this week, as quoted in a Washington Post review of a movie about mountaintop mining.

I think gives an interesting glimpse of this company’s perspective. They “aim to abide by” laws and regulations? How wonderful! Only that following the law isn’t some extracurricular activity for which you get a star and a pat on the back. Complying with applicable laws should be standard business practice, not a lofty goal.

Then again, this is the same company who owns the mine where 29 workers were killed as the result of a methane-gas explosion last April. Massey committed 67,000 violations of the Clean Water Act in five years, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who in 2004 wrote a book about mountaintop mining, told the Post in that same story.

Maybe they should “aim” a little harder?

Quote of the Day: It’s not about the tools

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[blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/#!/greglinch/status/8725683379380224"]

Greg Linch, Washington Post web producer, programmer-journalist and generally smart guy, posted these thoughts on Twitter the previous November. They stuck with me and came up in a conversation I had today.

I think Greg’s right. Sometimes, we journalists collectively get carried away with the latest new and shiny thing, proclaiming that everyone now needs to use it. Here’s what’s important:

The spirit of these developments matters more than the tools themselves. There’s a new tool out every week – some will catch on, some won’t, some will for a while then disappear. What is changing is the fundamental way news are done and distributed. That’s what we need to pay attention to – and take advantage of – no matter which tool is the flavor of the week.

It’s fitting, then, that Greg writes in the post he links that we need to take a step back and think about what’s behind any of this new software: The desire to tell stories, to uncover the truth, to engage in a conversation. That’s the reason we are journalists, not the latest app.

I remembered these posts because I was talking to another journalist friend about storify, a great tool for collecting social feedback on a story (here’s an example by me). It’s not without its flaws, but what I think matters is the spirit behind a tool like storify. It symbolizes a shift to conversation-oriented storytelling, a realization that the story isn’t done once you hit publish, that the reactions, comments, additions and feedback are part of the experience. That spirit is here to stay.

(Featured image from oxygen icons).

Quote of the Day: Computers are just people, too

There is evidence that people naturally respond to computers as if they were people. When they work well, we think of them as teammates, and when they are obstinate or rude, we respond to them the same way we respond to rude, obstinate people.

Preparing for these reactions might help you deal with them. One approach is to think of the computer as an employee with certain strengths, like speed and precision, and particular weaknesses, like lack of empathy and inability to grasp the big picture.

This quote from Think Python: How to Think Like a Computer Scientist by Allen B. Downey made me laugh. As I’m attempting to learn the programming language Python, it’s probably a good one to keep printed out over my desk.

Comment icon designed by Thomas McGee, via Smashing Magazine

Quote of the Day – recap

Some fun things happen at journalism school and outside of it (especially outside of it). Some fun things are said, too.
While this one happened a good while ago, I still think it’s funny enough…

Newsroom discussion, while putting together a presentation:

S.: “You can’t use that picture of my car!”

C.: “You can’t even tell it’s yours.”

S.: “I’M IN IT!”

This exchange is especially funny considering the car in question is a very recognizable race-car-style vehicle that would make any man jealous.