I built my first website in 1994-95, but my newspaper career intervened and I didn’t take a serious interest in the Web again until 2005. That’s when I started taking blogging seriously after two years of messing around with the format, and by the end of the year those abilities had saddled me with a new job: Web developer for The Post and Courier newsroom.
My strange career progression would eventually lead to titles like Web Director, Online News Director and (at least twice, in print) “Web guru,” which always bugged me because I lacked the basic hands-on skills and technical depth of the people I respected. So in the fall of 2008 I began work on my Web Design certificate at Trident Technical College, completing the requirements in January 2009.
So am I a Web designer? Sure. I’ve designed and built several sites (including this one). But there are better Web coders out there, and I’m happy to give them referals.
What I do is different. I combine four things into one unusual package:
- An in-depth understanding of newsgathering via old media and new media;
- A rare perspective on the future of the information economy and its relevant business models;
- Standard technical competency in multiple forms of digital media, plus deep experience in social media and conceptual knowledge of informatic systems;
- Almost 15 years of management and leadership experience.
In other words, I’m the guy you want if you’re looking for someone to help you develop an innovative news product or conduct 21st century journalism. There isn’t much call for those skills today, but with enormous swaths of the mainstream media stumbling over paywalls on their way to oblivion, the future could be a brand new ballgame.
Conover on Media: My second blog, which is where I learned the trade (my first blog, Mysterious Erotic Technical Manual, was just plain goofy).
Xark!: I founded this site as a group blog in June 2005 and it continues today as my primary home on the Web. Over the years, Xark has been cited by some interesting people, including Cory Doctrow, Dave Winer and Jay Rosen.
Lowcountry Blogs: My blog-about-local blogs, and the beginning point for much of the Lowcountry’s active online community building. Founded in April 2006, killed by myopic newspaper executives in 2008, this site lives on in the DNA of Lowcountry Bloggers.
StormWatch: An extremely successful example of no-budget, collaborative local news coverage based on free/cheap tools and an active online network. Interestingly, the next time a hurricane threatened Charleston, my Charleston.net successor spent the days before landfall scrubbing the site of all mentions of StormWatch, rather than attempting to revive or replicate any of its features.
Charleston.net: Though little of my work remains visible in the current iteration of the site (renamed postandcourier.com), it still runs on the Ellington CMS I bought for it. When I came on board in 2005, the site had an archive pay wall, heavy registration, a homemade file transfer system that took hours to sort through each morning’s story dump and no way to even put an RSS feed on any kind of content.