Luke Timmerman and Amy Rainey

Submitted by amyrainey on Sat, 01/02/2010 – 7:50pmin

Session Reporter: Luke and Amy

Conversationalist 1:  Luke Timmerman

Conversationalist 2: Amy Rainey

What meaning did you take from the conversation?

Luke: There are young people who still believe solid journalism can be done in an online world, and they are eager and willing to learn new skills to make it happen. Amy is an example of someone who is classically trained in the fundamental reporting and writing standards of the craft, who happened to come of age in this era that has unleashed creative destruction on the journalism industry. This has forced her to be creative in her own right to find ways to continue doing her work. The fact that she is persisting, and getting an advanced degree in multimedia journalism at the UW, gives me confidence that she and others like her will be willing to carry on many of the best traditions of journalism as the new business and nonprofit funding models get sorted out in coming years.

Amy: Luke explained his background in journalism and how he came to be national biotechnology editor for Xconomy, a news site that covers innovation in business and technology. A former Seattle Times reporter, Luke is the perfect example of a passionate journalist carving out his niche – in his case, biotechnology – and applying his reporting skills to a modern digital news organization. He has a great deal of knowledge to share about creating your own business model, working as a “wired in” beat reporter and serving as an ambassador for your news organizations.

Share a standout quote:

Luke: Amy and I agreed that the journalists that thrive in the online world will have fundamental journalism skills of reporting, writing, editing, A/V, and social media tools like Twitter that enable readers to share their work. Journalists themselves bear the responsibility of carrying on ethical traditions, being transparent about what they do, and honest brokers in order to engage with readers and establish their credibility.

We agreed that we are looking forward to the conference because it is being set up to be constructive, not just a “pity party.”

Amy: We foresee a future in which a new generation of journalists will “emerge as trusted intermediaries of civic discourse.” We discussed the changing relationship between journalists and their audiences. At the Seattle Times, Luke rarely received e-mails or feedback from his readers. At Xconomy, he takes their comments and e-mails very seriously. “Now there’s much more of a conversation. Now I’m with them.”

What surprised, inspired or delighted you about the conversation?

Luke: I was impressed by Amy’s positive, can-do spirit (even though she was feeling a little under the weather when we met.) The job market has certainly been very tough since she graduated from the University of Missouri journalism school in December 2005, but she has consistently sought out ways to apply her journalistic training in new and more engaging ways. People like Amy, who are willing to update their skills to adapt to the new reality of how people want to consume information online, are the ones who will still have a chance to be professional journalists over the next 5, 10, or 20 years.

Amy: For a young journalist hoping to stay in journalism, Luke’s experience working for and helping build Xconomy is very inspiring. Seattle is also an inspiring place to be right now. As a newcomer, I’m continually impressed with the journalistic startups and experiments being conducted here, from West Seattle Blog to Xconomy. For example, Luke said that when he started Xconomy, his sources and other contacts were very curious and supportive. With its creative workforce and entrepreneurial spirit, “Seattle is a community that supports innovation and experimentation.” There’s no other place I’d rather be.

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