About the author: Ruth Wedergren is a public media professional with 25 years of experience in programming, operations and educational outreach in public television and radio. View her resume at linkedin.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anthony Andro’s progression from print journalist to versatile multimedia reporter mirrors the changes in journalism since students of the ’80s and ’90s graduated. The one-story-per-day print model is history, replaced by multiple stories each day, updates for online editions and use of other media formats.
“You have to stay in front of what’s new in social media,” Andro says. “You have to be versatile enough to write, to tweet, to use a flip-cam, your cell phone and your tape recorder. The writing style has changed so much because you have to get your point across in less time and a lot less space.” He also says that in online reporting, there is no such thing as an inch count.
Andro recalls his boss at the Star-Telegram talking to staff a few years ago about moving toward “alternative storytelling.” He says, “I jumped on it because for one thing, it’s a lot quicker and it’s more opinionated. It doesn’t have to be lead, paragraph, quote, setup, quote, setup, quote. You can’t do that anymore. You have to be able to reach people in different ways.”
For example, Andro writes stories about the Rangers that are more opinion than fact-driven. “I’ll write a position-by-position breakdown for the World Series that won’t have a quote in it,” he says. “It’ll be my opinion on who’s better at every position.”
In place of a traditional copy editor, Andro’s stories go through four channels before they are posted online, including reviews in Houston and Los Angeles. So stories are not immediately available online. “I’ve been called on two stories from L.A. people, so I know it does get read over,” he says, “and that makes me feel good because when you’re writing in a hurry, everybody makes mistakes.”
When it comes to the future of newspapers, Andro is pessimistic. “I still get the Star-Telegram every day and it shrinks every day,” he says. “It’s sad — you want to think that newspapers will be around forever, but the way they keep shedding jobs, it’s hard to imagine how much longer it can last.”
Andro says one thing that won’t change in journalism is “you have to be able to write. It comes down to basic grammar, basic journalism stuff. I think that’s the most important thing. But you have to be versatile.”
And never underestimate the power of Twitter. “When my followers ask me a question, I’ll answer it,” he says. “I think that’s important because they connect with you and you bring that audience with you wherever you go. Every time I write a story, I’ll tweet the link to the story and that drives traffic to our website, which is the number one goal.” Andro has over 8,000 Twitter followers.
So what’s the best part of Andro’s job at FoxSportsSouthwest.com? “I get to watch baseball for a living,” he says.