Rafat Ali has made huge strides in bootstrapping his four year-old PaidContent into the “must read” for the entire digital media industry.  When I caught up with the pioneering journalist this week in Manhattan, I asked him how he has succeeded in ways that traditional media hasn’t.

He was clear that journalists are the greatest impediment to media companies embracing digital communications tools such as podcasts, vlogs. He says many are stuck in a comfortable mindset and resistant to change.

But he does acknowledge that it’s often not the journalists who are the roadblocks, but the companies themselves. He says that many journalists want to be involved with multi-media news gathering but are limited by their superiors; he cites a few senior journalists at Time magazine who want to use digital media but are not permitted.

Another barrier for media companies who want to embrace digital media is journalism unions – when print journalists begin taking pictures or capturing footage is that trespassing on the territory of photo journalists?

Rafat is confident that once journalists embrace the creative possibilities of new media tools there will be no going back. He describes them as addictive as crack – something The Beet can attest to.

— Andy Plesser

Other relevant news of interest to The Beet’s readers:

>>The New York Times reports on Pando, a new program that allows you to send files of any size (including video!) via email.  Pando’s co-founder and CEO, Robert Levitan, is a neighbor in The Beet’s Manhattan office building.

>> Valleywag has a humorous post catagorizing all of the vloggs you’re likely to encounter in the vloggosphere. Don’t leave home without it.

>> Cable companies are developing online video components. Peter Grant at the Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required to access article). 

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The New York Times Online editor Len Apcar is an editor that IS encouraging his journalists to use digital media. See Beet.TV’s earlier posts on David Carr and David Pogue to see how.

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