news:rewired - “Just get started. Tomorrow.”

Martin Belam by Martin Belam, 21 December 2010

At news:rewired last week some of ‘the wannabe hacks’ were providing live blogging, tweeting and coverage with Storify. Catching up with them meant I finally got a chance to chat to them about their site in person.

Earlier this year they approached me to ask for some advice. They had written up the proposition for their website, and another idea as well. It was a great document, but my reply was to tell them to basically ignore all the things that they saw as being obstacles:

“My biggest piece of advice to you would be just get started. Tomorrow. Start getting content up on a free Wordpress install whilst you look for someone who can help you buy a domain name and set up your own Wordpress on it. Custom design for news is over-rated - it is the content that drives the page views, so just pick a theme that gets close to what you want. Both the ideas rely on the content, not the visual design of the site. I like the fact that you’ve thought about ‘About us’ pages and profiles, but these can just be blog posts with the comments turned off. You are showing a lot of initiative in pro-actively contacting people about the idea, so get going..."

Since then they’ve gone on to get featured in Roy Greenslade's blog, in Media Guardian, and have certainly got themselves noticed within the industry.

Keeping the momentum going will have tricky moments, and, as ‘The Intern’ blogged, on Thursday I reminded them that at some point they will almost certainly make a noisy ‘mistake’ on their site or in their social media activities.

But it is fascinating to watch the beginnings of a whole generation of young digital journalists coming through - people like Hannah Waldram, Josh Halliday and Rachel McAthy, who seem completely at home producing content whether for print, multimedia or online, participating in their community, and using a wide range of digital tools.

Obviously, they’ve still got lots to learn about their trade, but, then again, I wonder if there isn’t something that the trade can learn from their attitude of just getting on, seemingly learning without fear, and doing it with the tools at hand.

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