Storyology 2015 has ended
Storyology is Australia’s premier festival of media and storytelling. Register and see the full site at walkleys.com/storyology15/. Bookmark the mobile site at storyology15.sched.org/mobile. And follow the conversation on Twitter at #Storyology.

Program updates for Friday: 
- Sydney Morning Herald’s innovation editor, Stephen Hutcheon, is replacing Conal Hanna on the Tiny screen, big disruption: Mobile-first strategies, and Amy O’Leary will not be appearing.
View analytic
avatar for Jim Roberts

Jim Roberts

Executive editor & chief content officer
Twitter @nycjim, Instagram @nycjim

Jim Roberts is Mashable’s executive editor and chief content officer. Jim manages Mashable’s editorial team and oversees editorial strategy and operations. Previously he was executive editor of Reuters Digital, where he managed the editorial news and opinion team for Reuters’ consumer sites and mobile platforms. He joined Reuters in February 2012, coming from the New York Times. At the Times, Jim was an assistant managing editor responsible for guiding the ongoing development and news coverage of nytimes.com. He had previously been the chief editor at nytimes.com, holding the title of editor of digital news in July 2006 and in June 2008, associate managing editor. In those roles, Jim helped build nytimes.com into a digital powerhouse, by emphasizing an aggressive response to breaking news and by pushing innovation in multimedia, social media, and user-generated content. Before joining the digital side of the Times, he was national rditor of the paper from late 2002 until early 2006. He served as the paper’s national political editor during the presidential campaign of 2000, and previously served in a variety of editing positions on the metro, sports and national desks. Jim has also become a well-known voice in social media. He was quick to recognize the power of social platforms for distributing and interacting with news and over the years has attracted more than 100,000 followers to his @nycjim Twitter feed.

Tell us a bit about you. How did you get to where you are today? What led you to become a storyteller?

I don’t consider myself a storyteller, per se, but I do consider myself an evangelist for using the power of digital technology to enhance the ability of journalists and writers in general to reach their audience and connect with them in useful and intimate ways.

I came of age in an era of journalism in which such connections were largely devalued. Journalists – even the most creative and expressive “gonzo” or “new journalism” writers of the 1960s and 1970s – saw their work as a one- or two-dimension effort. They talked to the audience and had no means to listen.

And in the mainstream media, where I worked for 30 years, mostly at The New York Times, there was not just the means to listen there was also little interest in doing so. Journalists were trained and encouraged to be observers…translators, if you will…of events. And I’ve been privileged to have worked with some of the best.

But now I do not think it’s enough to simply observe and translate. Journalists need to listen and interact and understand that the craft of delivering information is not a unidirectional effort. They need to understand the variety of sources of information that exist to better inform them and their audiences, from tweets to Instagram posts and even Snapchat snaps.

Journalists must also understand how platforms for delivering information are constantly changing and will continue to evolve. The most effective communicators in the future will be those who are able to cope with this evolution, and take advantage of new distribution channels as they arise.

While many journalist of my generation either feared the digital revolution or lacked the desire to adapt, I’ve long felt that with every advance in platforms or sharing technology or image-making was an opportunity to become a better communicator. Change is always difficult, but there’s far more opportunity than risk in embracing it.