A minor misfortune of my job since 2001 has been the title because no one outside the company would have any idea what it means: Newsbank editor. Or, worse, if someone has heard of NewsBank Inc., he or she might think my job was related. It wasn’t. There has never been any part of it related to NewsBank Inc. When Media General created a news-sharing intranet website in 1998, for whatever reason company officials chose to name it Newsbank (or, in public news releases, News Bank, though on the business cards presented to me when I first reported for work, it was Newsbank). So whenever I met someone and they asked what I did, I often thought of a line from an episode of the 1978-79 “Battlestar Galactica” (“The Long Patrol”) in which Starbuck lands on a prison planet where inmates’ names are derived from their crimes: “What exactly is Starbuckin’?” Before 2001, I could answer the “What do you do?” question with my actual title: “I’m a reporter.” “I’m the city editor.” “I’m the state editor.” Some further explanation might be tacked on, but the title conveyed basics. Starting in 2001, I skipped the title and launched into the explanation, and I quietly wished that back in 1998 someone had a different idea for the job title.
Today I realized what that title could have been. Within Steve Buttry’s post about the new curation team at Digital First Media is a fairly good description, from Karen Workman (the third person in the post, if you go looking for it), of much of what I do (go down to the bold subhead “So how can we do this?”). Of course, Newsbank is old technology (the original 1998 coding was rewritten, but that still was almost 10 years ago) and not up to everything she describes as desireable, and I do other things during the day — increasingly and sometimes depressingly so. But basically, yeah, the essentials are parallel. Maybe I should unilaterally adopt the title and update my resume accordingly.