How semi-retiring media news guru Jim Romenesko gave me a media career -- and changed journalism
I don't think I've ever met him or even spoken with him on the telephone.
But media news guru Jim Romenesko is one reason why I've been lucky enough to see my work as a media critic spread from the pages of the St. Petersburg Times to national outlets such as CNN, National Public Radio and, yes, Poynter.org.
So news today that Romenesko will soon step even further back from the media news blog which the Poynter Institute acquired 12 years ago, "semi-retiring" at the start of 2012 to launch his own website jimromenesko.org, impacts in a personal way. Despite our lack of personal contact.
Poynter assures that "We will continue to publish media news in the Romenesko blog (soon to be renamed Romenesko+). Steve Myers will continue to contribute; Jeff Sonderman will continue to contribute. I (Julie Moos)will contribute." The @Romenesko and @poynter Twitter feeds will also continue to carry Romenesko's messages, along with all the other contributors. (requisite disclaimer: the Poynter Institute owns the newspaper where I work, the St. Petersburg Times)
Still, this moment resonates.
I knew I'd nailed a story when Romenesko linked it. And it remains a shock to this day when a blog post or commentary I've assembled gets linked on the journalism site everyone in the business reads.
Along the way, as Poynter online guru Bill Mitchell points out in this excellent essay, Romenesko made us all pay more attention to news about the news. We learned in a quicker, more complete way about layoffs, plagiarism scandals, buyouts, major reporting efforts and big journalism hires.
Mitchell quotes former New York Times editor Howell Raines noting that he got "Romenesko'ed" out of job when the site featured scores of links to stories about the Jayson Blair plagiarism scandal. But, to me, that sounds a little like blaming the newspaper for covering a house fire; I remain amazed at how those who direct such massive reporting efforts on others, have so little taste for similar scrutiny when it comes their way.
But Romenesko was just the first online pioneer to build the kind of aggregation sites we now take for granted. These days, you can call up Deadline Hollywood or The Wrap for showbiz news; TVNewser or Mediaite for television industry gossip. It's hard to remember a time when there wasn't a broad array of websites bristling with hyperlinks and information on whatever topic in media you can imagine.
According to the most excellent Julie Moos at Poynter, they will continue featuring Jim's work, augmented by many more posts from others. they're also hiring a media reporter -- welcome news at a time when too many media stories are still about journalists losing jobs.
Sounds like a well-planned, long-anticipated transition, allowing a media pioneer to keep on innovating while the rest of us stick around to see what he comes up with. Gives me an excuse to tip the hat a little here, and thank Romenesko for expanding my voice, while giving me access to example of high powered media-focused journalism from across the globe.
Wonder what he'll do for an encore?