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February 27, 2013
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Teaching an old dog ...

I spent last Friday and Saturday learning I'm old.

I think I already knew that, but it was often tossed in my face, mostly in a nice way, at the Colorado Press Association annual convention in Denver.

You know these types of functions, I'd bet they're held for whatever profession you happen to find yourself in. Everyone gathers at a fancy hotel or convention center, you eat lunches and dinners, sometimes breakfasts, with others you have known in your career and some you meet for the first time.

You catch up with former co-workers and bosses, whether you really liked them or not.

You also get to attend several breakout sessions, or seminars, on topics of interest to you in your profession. In my case, I tried to pick the ones that I thought would help me do my job in the best and most efficient way. That's a real challenge for the newspaper industry as a whole, in case you didn't know.

Social media is a big part of what journalists like me need to know nowadays and I have to admit I'm behind the times. Yes, I'm on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, I text and sometimes remember my cell phone is also a camera. But I don't spend a lot of time on any of those media, or platforms, as they're called.

That's where I went wrong. I need to spend more time on all of those and more, if I want to stay in touch with people who read what I write, the groups and people I cover and write about and the businesses that help keep the lights on.

The challenge for me is finding the time to, as one speaker told us, post something on Facebook every 60 to 90 minutes of every day. I'm assuming he meant every day I'm at work. Down time is still down time for this guy. And remember, I'm old.

Anyway, being one of two full time staffers at the Telegram, it's hard enough to keep up with many of the daily duties I have, attend meetings, take and format photos and all the rest that goes into producing a weekly newspaper. Now I should stop all that and post some sort of comment or Tweet that may or may not be worthy of letting everyone know. You want people to have something new, something now, something they can talk about.

This same speaker said newspapers should get in the habit of posting their story ideas, or budgets, online, so people will know what you're working on. I have no problem doing that, I know transparency in the news gathering process is a good thing.

I get that, I really do. It's just reality seems to have a way of intruding. There's only so many hours in the day and so much blood you can squeeze from a turnip.

(Sorry, run-on cliche monster woke up.)

There was another speaker who said his reporters are barred from writing breaking news stories to post on the web. Instead, their job requirement includes sending out Tweets when big news happens and only writing a story for the printed paper. Not sure I agree with that, but it is happening. It's today's world.

I do want to say I got a heck of a lot of good information from the convention. I enjoyed it, it was fun catching up with folks.

And I will make a real effort to get more into the social media. I want to be a "with it" kind of dude, you know.

You can help, too. Look me and the Telegram up on Facebook and Twitter and remind me to get online and get with it. If I start complaining, know it's nothing personal.

Just old age.

Mike McKibbin is the editor of The Citizen Telegram.


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The Post Independent Updated Feb 27, 2013 05:48PM Published Feb 27, 2013 05:46PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.