I started this blog over a week ago and every time I sit down to write it, I can't seem to get out what I want to say. This block has left me feeling like there's nothing else I can blog about until I get this out. So please, if ramble and take tangents, remember it's my way of trying to connect the dots. I'd love your feedback and ideas.

I agree Lacey, it's been too long since I blogged.

Last week was a horrible week for journalism in Denver. The Rocky Mountain News closed. There were lay offs at two stations in Denver, including my station. Stories came out daily of more newspapers going under and more lay offs at other media outlets, including some smaller market networks combining newsrooms. Friends all around me kept asking, "Am I next?" They started asking, "What else can I do to be more valuable in the newsroom?"

At the same time I'm being asked by non-media friends if it's all part of the recession or if media is changing. The answer is both.

I think the recession is just forcing the future of the media faster than most were expecting it. It's unfortunate the lay off and closed doors finally made it clear that news is not what we were taught in college; and it doesn't seem that the college interns I've worked with are being taught any differently.

I'm not talking about keeping up with new technology like HD cameras. I'm talking about how is news going to received in the future? It's a question I have a few ideas on and would like your opinions.

Saturday Shawn and I chatted with our friend Christy about all that had happened in Denver media that week. She's always been honest with us, she, her husband and 11-yr old son, rarely watch the news. If the news is on at their house it's usually for the weather only. She gets her news online. She receives the Sunday Post for the ads only. Her husband gets his news on talk radio and some magazines. Her son gets news from his teacher, classmates and from what his parents tell him.

Television news is no longer where you sit down as a family after or during dinner. It may not even be what you watch as you wrap up your night. Newspapers aren't being read at the breakfast table.

In this conversation Shawn said he gets more news on his google front page than he does all day, and he works in a newsroom. His google page is filled with links to all the stations in Denver and his other favorite websites that range from movie critiques to roller coasters.

Our friend said she doesn't even have that because all the news she wants she gets from her friends, coworkers and neighborhood. Shawn then said he believes news will become so micro that it would be like he started a news website for a radius around our house and others would be doing the same and all would be linked together. His thought is that he could get advertising that way because all the businesses in his radius would want to advertise to the community it directly serves. (Think Chinese restaurants that will only deliver in a 10-mile radius.)

We continued to talk about how print has struggled to stay relevant since television, and that now it seems television has to stay relevant to printed word - online.

Everywhere I turn these days there's a conversation about social media. I wasn't familiar with this term until a few months ago when the station started a Twitter. Since then a Twitter team has been put together at the station. I wasn't asked to be a part of this team and just hearing about Twitter confused the daylight out of me. So, I started my own twitter, @msmistyj, to figure it out on my own.

A light literally went on & the world sang!

Yes, Twitter alone does that, but the overall slap in the face that I felt as I began to understand and see clear paths to the future was what really did it for me.

Twitter and other social media can be made in whatever mold you want. You use it to serve your purposes.

My purpose on Twitter is to share my assignment editing life. I tweet out what I hear on the scanners. I tweet what news crews are doing. I tweet about crazy calls I get. In return I have people following me and sharing with me. I have made friends. I have made contacts for news stories. I have people sharing breaking news with me only through Twitter. I have people sharing their story ideas with me.

By the end of the first week on Twitter I had my first story set up and aired that was found only through Twitter. http://tinyurl.com/bl732w

For me Twitter is a connection to the viewing population in the metro area. I follow almost everyone I can find that lives in Colorado, specifically Denver and the front range. If I don't follow someone back, it's usually because they don't live anywhere near Colorado.

I share some of my personal life to assure people that I am a real human and not just headlines and a mouthpiece only promoting the station. A tweet about my shrinking center cut bacon was made fun of by coworkers, but lead me to a great conversation with a man in Denver who asked me about doing a story on paying the same & more for less. I was able to Tweet a link to a story that CBS News did on just that phenomenon. Then I was able to discuss stories that CBS4 News is doing to help Beat the Recession.

So as I use Twitter I see how the future of news really can be in 140 characters, and yet, also be so much more as television, radio and newspaper moves as well.

I believe newsrooms in all media outlets will only continue to get smaller. It will be like our first jobs out of college where you did everything in all areas of the station. Shawn survived his lay off and hopes we both survive as the future of news changes and moves. He believes being as versatile as possible is one way to survive. (I posted a blog with an article on Shawn for you to read more of his insight.)

I agree with him. This tone was an undercurrent during a recent staff meeting at the station. We were encouraged to find other areas we're interested in that we can learn and contribute.

So I obviously don't have a magic 8 ball (though I want one desperately) but I do see the future of news/media is changing. It's changing faster than you think. Soon the only generations left will be digital and connected.

So please if you've made it thru this blog, please share your thoughts and what you may be doing now to stay versatile and relevant.