News Leadership 3.0

June 23, 2008

Link: The Big Picture

At, a programmer
develops a compelling photo blog
How do you tap ideas from non-journalist staff? has started a terrific photo blog, The Big Picture, to much acclaim. Check out how The Big Picture covers Mars discoveries, the Celtics’ NBA Championship, or Iowa flooding.

Worth reading, too, is this interview with Alan Taylor, the Web programmer who came up with the idea and produces the blog.

That a programmer could be doing journalism at a big outfit like The Boston Globe is an encouraging sign that old-school journalists (and I’m one of them) are opening up to new ideas from outside the traditional club.

Some newsroom leaders have mentioned to me that they have trouble attracting good programmers because of all the bad financial news about the news industry. Taylor offers this counterpoint:

“Yeah, I had a lot of friends who looked at me like i was crazy when I joined the Boston Globe a few years ago. But it’s precisely this sort of opportunity I was hoping for. The access to great storytelling resources, a great platform, and the ability to contribute to that, albeit in a more technical role. I saw the opportunity and ran with it, with everyone’s blessing. It’s a very hard question—how to attract programmers to journalism roles. For me, it’s just far more interesting than, say, working on a massive financial services backend system.”

How does your organization attract programming talent? Can programmers help reshape journalism in the digital age? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

(Thanks to Howard Weaver for the pointer.)


What an eye-popping visit to the Big Picture. In the age of high speed Internet, I don’t know why we haven’t seen large, high-res images used in this way before.

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Exploring innovation, transformation and leadership in a new ecosystem of news, by journalist and change advocate Michele McLellan.

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