It's my 100th post!

by Amy Webb
Jan 3, 2011 in Digital Journalism

It's hard to believe, but I've been writing Webb on the Web for two years. I've shown you tech trends and creative reporting tools. You've learned about how to use (and abuse!) Google, and how to put together a multimedia story package entirely for free. And since I've started contributing this column, IJNet has launched a beautiful new site with even more resources -- and in multiple languages -- for international journalists.

To celebrate, I've decided to let you in on a few of my trade secrets. Below is a how-to guide explaining how and where I get my information. If you're interested in journalism and technology, follow some or all of the steps below.

I always sleep with my mobile phone next to my bed. Because my company has many international clients, and because I do a lot of speaking around the world, my phone tends to ring at all hours of the day and night.

I wake up at 6:00 a.m. and immediately check my email from my mobile (while still in bed -- luckily I have an understanding husband!). I then open Twitter to see what's happened overnight in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.

It's then off to the gym or for a short run. I used to use an iPod, but I now just carry my iPhone. I listen to these podcasts on rotation: This American Life, TWiT. I sometimes listen to live streaming Morning Edition, a national news show, on NPR.

When I get to my office, usually by 8:00 a.m., I open NetNewsWire, which is my RSS reader. I subscribe to 160 feeds, and I rarely get to all of them in the morning. Instead, I make sure to read Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, Folio, Slashdot, T3.com, Financial Times, TechCrunch and the Wall Street Journal. If I have time, I'll also look through The Future of Things, Seth Godin's blog, Nieman Journalism Lab, Lifehacker, InteractiveTV Today, I Love Charts blog and all of the corporate blogs (Google, Facebook, Twitter). I also check our Knowledgewebb blogs and forums and read a handful of news sites and blogs in Japanese.

As I'm reading, I keep a spreadsheet open and take notes on any new trends, tools or industry changes I see. I tag, date and list of the URL of the items so that I can go back and search through them later.

After my morning reading, I open TweetDeck and scan to see what's going on. I typically have a few hashtags running to track trends and ideas. I also run a continual search on the names of my companies. Important tweeters to me are: @Techmeme, @dannysullivan, @RWW, @slashdot, @mikebutcher, @mashable, @jczamora, @knowledgewebb (I have to -- that's one of my companies!), @NiemanLab and @GuardianTech.

As time permits, I try to attend a webinar each week on lots of different topics. Sometimes I'll listen in on a company briefing, other times I'll sign up for a demo to learn about a new product. Same goes for live chats. I'll admit that I leave early most of the time...webinars and live chats don't usually hold my attention for long.

I have the StumbleUpon toolbar installed and click on it a few times a day. StumbleUpon is a great way to learn about new things on the web in a personalized way. I highly recommend it, as I've found lots of great new tools using it...but beware! StumbleUpon is extremely addictive!

I use Skype and instant message to facilitate some of my meetings, and we use an enterprise-level tool to host our own meetings and webinars. I also use BlogTalkRadio occasionally.

While I don't tend to watch any news video (unless it's for a client or client's project), I do tend to have Pandora playing in the background. My current two favorite channels: Gymnopedies (piano music) and Heal the Pain (George Michael).

Midway through my day I go back to my RSS feeds. And of course, I let my Twitter stream curate the most important stories of the day.

After work, I continue to check my email and take calls. I've been known to sneak into bed early with my iPad to watch a little TV or read through my Flipboard.

Then I plug in my phone and iPad to recharge...before getting up again the next day to start all over again!

Amy Webb is a digital media consultant and the CEO of Webbmedia Group, LLC. She has also launched Knowledgewebb, a new website for multimedia training. You can follow Amy on Twitter. Webbmedia Group is a vendor-neutral company. Any opinions expressed about products or services are formed after testing, research and interviews. Neither Amy Webb nor Webbmedia Group or its employees receives any financial or other benefits from vendors.