I’ve accepted a position at the Register

Old shirt with OCRegister.com logo
I’ve dusted off an old Register shirt with a logo that once promoted the company’s digital presence.

Today, I start working at the Orange County Register again.

This might come as a surprise to some, since I revived this blog in July with a post about why I left newspapers, and followed that up with an explanation of why I stopped working for a newspaper company.

There are many reasons for my return, but this is the biggest one: they asked me to return. I’m not saying that all they had to do was ask. I’m saying that there has to be a reason that they reached out to me.

You see, many incredibly talented journalists left the company in June. Most of them are better “print journalists” than I’ll ever be. My forte has always been digital. To the best of my knowledge, the Register hasn’t reached out to any of my incredible colleagues. That the company is asking a digital specialist to return says to me that they are making a shift to bolster their presence online, and hopefully on mobile and social platforms.

I’m joining with a strange title of Newsroom Operations, and will be helping journalists to get their jobs done. I will be troubleshooting, filling one of the duties that a previous Register worker left vacant when he recently left the company.

Wait? So it sounds like I’m a newsroom IT guy, and the reason they reached out to me is because they needed a newsroom IT guy. It could be that simple, but I think there’s something more afoot. The Register is still full of talented individuals, some of whom could easily fill the shoes of the position described. The Register is experienced in shuffling newsroom staff to fill holes. They know how to make do and they have the people to do it.

They didn’t have to ask me to come back, they chose to reach out to me. This newspaper company just might be prepping for digital.

I’m going back to help amazing journalists. I can only imagine how rough things have been since the staff has had to pick up the slack left by my friends and I when we left almost five months ago. I’m going back to help my coworkers make the best use of their tools. I’m going back to help make their work easier. If you’ve ever worked with me, you know that I’m going back to bring a little levity and to help make some good people smile.

So, what do you think? Good move? Bad move? Leave a comment or talk with me on Twitter @ksablan.

How we covered #smday Orange County

Oscar is setting up the banner for #smdayoc on Twitpic

Last week, The Orange County Register hosted the fourth biggest Social Media Day gathering in the world. I work for the Register, but this is my personal blog. As such, the “we” in the title of this post does not to refer to the Register. Instead, this is a roundup of how “we” the people covered last week’s event.

SMDayOC

We asked people to use the #smdayoc hashtag whenever posting anything related to the Orange County Social Media Day event. According to What the Hashtag, 281 people have included #smdayoc in a tweet within the last seven days. According to my calculations, during one hour of the event, a tweet containing #smdayoc was published every 14 seconds.

Pictures

Blogs

  • Meredith Simonds (@MeredithSimonds) wrote a wonderful blog post that touched on the Register’s social media efforts and a tour of the pressroom.
  • Longboards Ice Cream (@longboards) posted a blog entry full of pictures.
  • At the bottom of her blog post, Daniela Bolzmann (@DanielaBolzmann) did a great job listing and linking to many other #smdayoc blog posts and other coverage of the event.

Audio

Video

  • Ted Nguyen also shot a video preview that he posted to CNN’s iReport.
  • Robert Watson (@TopBrokerOC), another speaker at Wednesday’s event, shared video of Register Publisher Terry Horne opening up #smdayoc.
  • @BodyByB used YouTube to share her reflections from Social Media Day.
  • When Zpizza in Tustin (@zpizza_tustin) provided free food for #smdayoc events, they recorded and shared video testimonials.
  • Eric Bryant (@TheRECoach) shot tons of video before, during and after the event and created a #smdayoc YouTube playlist with more than 30 clips. If you don’t get a chance to visit that list, please watch Bryant’s interview (below) with 91-year-old attendee John Vrba.

YouTube

Share more

Were you at the event? Did you post anything related to the event? Have you come across other coverage. Share in the comments below, and don’t forget to save those #smdayoc pages on Delicious.

Video: Evolution of Orange County media

OC Insight is a half-hour talk show focusing on issues impacting Orange County. It is the product of a partnership between California State University, Fullerton and KCET. In November, I was part of a (“Someone must have messed up. I don’t belong on stage with veterans Jeff Rowe and Jean Pasco!”) three-person panel on an episode called “The Orange County Media Evolution.”

I bit of background: I was initially contacted to be the “experienced blogger and new media practitioner.” By the day of the shoot, things had changed and the representative for the Orange County Register was no longer on the panel. I tried my best to shift gears to be “old media transitioning into new.”

Kudos to OC Insight for making this video available for embedding and for Christopher Bugbee for tracking me down on Twitter. Make sure to visit the show’s web site for a full list of episodes.

By the way, this is my television debut, and this show is in no way affiliated to The Kevin Sablan Show.

When a quake shakes a Sunday night newsroom

Jit Fong Chin as @OCReggie

The following is an account of the role Jit Fong Chin, a member of the Orange County Register‘s web task force, played when an earthquake shook a newsroom staffed for a Sunday night.

The text was originally written as a comment on my post about how @OCReggie connected with the community during the quake. Jit was tweeting as @OCReggie on that night. She decided against posting the comment when she though it became too detailed and “prob boring for lot of people.”

Did I really send out a tweet that said, “Is anyone okay“?! I was working last night and filled in as @ocreggie. Here’s more context on what happened in the newsroom: OC Register, as are most other newsroom, was lightly staffed Sunday night. I was the night cops reporter, there was a photo editor, a night news editor, plus dozen or so other designers and copy editors working on putting out Monday’s print paper.

We felt the rolling. I immediately checked the USGS Web site, CHP and OCSD Web sites, and sent out a tweet as @ocreggie.  The photo editor called his network of photographers to find out if they had seen anything and had photo ideas. In minutes, Gary Robbins logged on and started reporting on the earthquake, and had a story up on ocregister site very quickly, I think within 15 minutes. I started calling the police and fire departments in O.C. to find out if there was damage.

Halfway through the list — covering about 80% of the county — nobody had reported any damage yet. By this time, several senior editors had weighed in from home and wanted to add an include on the register homepage, and since I knew there wasn’t damage, I decided to switch gears and worked on that since among the staff of three in the office, I had more technical expertise. Another reporter (Doug Irving) was called from home (by Marcia?) to finish making cop calls.

I put up the include, checked in on @ocreggie, made a page that pulled in tweets about earthquakes (and tried to put it on homepage include and ditched the plan in 2 minutes when I couldn’t, and added it to blog post instead), fixed a minor blog issue, then made second round of cop calls while the relief reporter culled comments for print story. By this time, we had more than 250 comments on Gary’s earthquake blog post, which he was also still industriously updating every few minutes.

By this time, it was about 10:30 p.m. — tweets had died about an hour ago, no damage from police reported, and no more time to put anything new in paper. I did another check on @ocreggie, and sent out a dozen DMs thanking people for responses and RTs, and expired bunch of old earthquake stories on the earthquake section that was linked to from the homepage.

What I think went well: 90% of credit goes to Gary for reporting and publishing something so quickly. I felt the Twitter work I did was quite minimal, prob just the least that was needed to get some conversation going. I wish I could have done more, but don’t think I could have with so few staff.

Jit’s text was only edited to include links.

Oh, and I was responsible for that embarrassing “Is anyone okay?” tweet. It was one of two tweets I posted before realizing that Jit was on the case.

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