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A New Way of Thinking

On my first day at KPBS, I sat down with our news assistant and picked out some office supplies. You know, normal first day stuff, like a calendar and planner. My new boss walked in, overhearing this conversation. He informed me that this fancy new phone they gave me has a calendar, planner, Internet access. It even talks to you. He suggested I use it.

I smiled proudly and told him that after seven years in journalism, I developed my own highly efficient system that involved putting Post-it notes on a calendar (that way if my deadline changes, I just pick up the Post-it note and place it on the new date. Genius, right?).

He smiled back and said that I'm a Jacobs Fellow now, and this means a different way of doing things. He pointed to the phone. "Technology," he said. "That's a big part of becoming trained to be a journalist of the future." I frowned. Deeply. I'm the kind of person who always gets the cheapest, most basic phone. I swear my last one was practically a rotary dial cell phone.


What did I get myself into?

I thought being a Jacobs Fellow meant I would hone my journalism skills by adding radio and TV capabilities to it. Even learning how to post on the Web. But -- apparently -- it's more than that. It's a whole new way of thinking. Right down to how I organize my thoughts every morning. The fellowship's goal is to, in part, use me as a guinea pig to find out what journalists are capable of. Can I be a print, radio, TV, Web journalist? Can I be a photographer on top of that and know how to post a slide show next to my written story?

Will I go insane?

Or will it challenge me and prepare me to become the journalist of tomorrow?

All news media are heading that route. Newspaper reporters are doing podcasts. Broadcast journalists are writing for their stations' Web sites. I don't think reporters have much choice in this matter. It's where we are headed because a growing number of readers and listeners are turning to technology for their news. They want their news on the Web, on their iPods, and even on text messages.


Two weeks ago, I joined the radio news team. It's a whole different way of writing for me. I find it more challenging. It's easy to explain an issue if I have tons of space to do it... paragraphs and paragraphs. Try doing it in six sentences.

I'm learning every day. Did I tell you I'm also new to San Diego? I already had one of those days where I got lost, stuck in traffic, arrived late for Mayor Jerry Sanders' press conference, and messed up something on my radio equipment.

But it doesn't beat the first day I heard my voice on the radio. Yes, I cringed like I normally do when trying to record an answering machine greeting and hearing my voice.

But I got to tell a story in six sentences (okay, a little more than six sentences. I'm still learning). And for the first time, someone heard my story in a car while driving home instead of sitting down and reading it.

I am challenged. And, deep down, I am enjoying it.

In fact, that's what I said to my cell phone this morning after she told me today's schedule.

-- Nicole Lozare is a reporter for KPBS News and co-host of Off Mic . Please read our guidelines before posting comments.