Writing directly in Slack allowed Haberman and Confessore to have an organic conversation in real-time at “chat speed,” without having to worry about how their text would look on the Times website and without back and forth between various browser tabs and applications.
Have you used SLACK with your students? Many long-time journalists, and plenty of 35+ year olds in other communication areas shun collaboration software and cling to the noble by silly notion that a single author, working in linear style with editors, is the best way to produce a story.
That approach has its value, but as this story details, working online today, and trying to cover live events is best done in real time, via collaboration tools like Slack. If you aren’t experimenting with this in your classes, you are shortchanging your students.
The NYTimes didn’t know whether this was going to work for them, but they tried it out. That is where you should be with your students. Of course, the assignment is always to produce quality news, but how that’s done is the exciting part of education. Push the students, and yourself, to try new ways of doing the same old, same old.
If Slack is scary, you can start with Google shared docs in class. Millennials for all their tech exposure, will say they hate to do collaborative writing. Tough. Get used to it. It won’t be the only thing you do, but it might be the thing that will set you apart from the crowd and get you hired, if you can do it effectively.