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Mojo — a neologism too far

If you want your news website to be seen as being ahead of the pack you can get some really good stories, use really innovative techniques or you can find a neologism for something old.

This caught my eye on Mindy McAdams’ excellent and very useful Teaching Online Journalism blog. She had picked up an interview with the editor of The News-Press in Fort-Myers, Florida, which had been published in the Baltimore Sun.

I can’t provide a free link to the Baltimore Sun article because it charges for archive access, but McAdams quotes from it:

At The News-Press … reporters known as “mojos” — for mobile journalists — carry digital cameras, wireless laptops and MP3 recorders, their work destined not for the newspaper’s print edition but for eight community Web sites run by the paper. The so-called “micro-sites” are linked to the paper’s main Web site, and each corresponds to a neighborhood or district in the area.

Mojos! They may call their people mojos but they look very much like district reporters — that is what the job has been called for a very long time in the UK and, I think, in the US.

The technology has changed a bit with MP3 recorders instead of notebooks and wireless laptops instead of telephones for filing and in the UK union rules prevented reporters carrying cameras. Perhaps I was missing something, so I took at look at The News-Press website. And, yes, the job is essentially unchanged: getting all the little stories that prove the relationship between proximity and news.

On the Bonita Springs pages are the staples of local reporting: School band finds it rhythm, Lunch ladies honored for contribution, Bonita boat parade scheduled Dec 16 and much more.

The picture galleries looked a little bit more promising for someone who is not so close to the local news. They included, Tanning salon offers extras and Massage chain planning expansion, but turned out to be puff pieces for legitimate businesses.

All good local reporting with rather too much free advertising. Pride should be in being called a reporter rather than a mojo.

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