Old Meets New

October 14, 2009

Through the magic of Facebook and Twitter, I recently reconnected with an old colleague, Jim Long. He’s @newmediajim on Twitter and the author of the  fabulous blog, Verge New Media. Jim and I worked together for a while in the early 90s on a tv show called First Business which was produced out of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington,  DC.  I had previously worked for many years at CNN and returned there again after my stint with First Business. Jim, as  many know, went on to do great things at NBC.

I absolutely loved working with Jim back in the day, but these days he is my new-found hero. I am in awe of all that he has embraced and achieved in the social media  realm.  His passion and zeal for new media is infectious and, although I’m a relative latecomer to the party,   I  fervently share his enthusiasm as well.  In fact, I can relate to how Jim describes himself:  “New media trapped in an old media body.” I really wish I had thought of that myself!

While reading the blogs and following many of the people at the forefront of Social Media, I have come to the  realization that many of them are young enough to be my children!  But that’s ok and, like any good parent, I have the utmost admiration for their talents and accomplishments in this wonderful and emerging field.

We’ve certainly come a long way. When I was in college, the only computers were in the Computer Science building. Being a Journalism major, I never went near there.  (Oh, and everyone on a dorm floor shared a phone – it was in the stairwell.)

I had an internship at a local radio station where we edited tape with a razor blade.  My first job after college was at WTTG-TV where some film chains were still in use and where the newsroom was filled with the din of clacking typewriters and the “dt-dt-dt-dt-dt” of the wire service machines.  One of my responsibilities, in fact, was ripping the wire stories off the machine and hanging them on the appropriate nails on the wall – “Local”, “Natl” ,”Intl” ,”WX”, “Sports”, “Ent.”

My first job at CNN was on a two-person camera crew where we carried approximately 49 lbs. of equipment . It was quite a challenge running after newsmakers, riding in motorcades and hopping in and out of helicopters  at top speed with all that weight while also attached to each other by a BNC cable.

Now, of course, network correspondents file their stories from far flung places using their laptops.  Breaking news is captured on video by anyone with a cellphone and “citizen journalists” are everywhere. It’s incredible how far we have come and I am excited to see how much futher we will go. I am having tons of fun helping clients establish a social media presence and building up my own as well.  New media is incredibly exciting and I’m psyched to be along for the ride!