Dan lays it down tough, but he says some things that really needed saying, that needed amplifying.
I'm still pretty freaked over the general decline of the overall enterprise of public affairs reporting, investigative reporting, civic and civil society reporting and analysis, as these behemoth media monopolies falter like a single-species pine forest hit by the bark beetle.
But Dan is at least reminding us, reminding me, of something I knew, suffered with as the status quo, never quite reconciled myself to as the years rolled by, but found myself increasingly powerless to do anything about it to fight those monopolies, at least until the blog movement and the idea of citizen journalism came along.
Not that the pretty feeble but courageous citizen journalism and non-profit journalism efforts caused the massive monopolies to shiver in their boots. That mild contribution to the monopolies' death is just a thousand cuts, with the IDEA of the real masses, the huge reading publics accessing content for free online. Those readers were fed by an advertising-subsidized content machine, however, a machine created and delivered in an industrial, mindless assembly-line, tape-recorder-journalist-as-low-wage-line-worker model, not with a a critical thinking and analysis (even semantic parsing!) information age model (one could argue the Internet model is SEO-driven, nearly-bot-written content thinly scraped to follow trending topics... but that's a subject for another post!).
But the real death blow is being struck by the hand that fed the monopoly powers: advertisers cutting back in the face of the Great Recession.
Posted on June 16, 2010 at 12:27 AM in Advertising, Citizen Journalism, Civil Rights, Current Affairs, Cyberculture, Democracy Theory, Economy, Education, Free Speech, Hypertext Theory, Journalism, Long Tail, Television, UCD, Web & Interface Design, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Posted by: Helen Walters on April 05, 2010
Interface designer and anthropologist Jan Chipchase (that’s him in the background, taking the picture) has made a name for himself and collected quite a following as a result of his work at Nokia, where he worked in both the research group and the design team (read a 2007 BusinessWeek Q&A with him here.) Having joined the Finnish telecoms company in October, 2000, Chipchase spent nine years in Tokyo and the last at Nokia Design in Los Angeles. Now, however, change is afoot, as Chipchase moves to work at design and innovation consultancy, frog design. As the firm’s new executive creative director of global insights, Chipchase is relocating once more, this time to Shanghai, China.
So I figure, why not look in at them here? Let's look beyond the practical vo-tech employment concerns and wax a bit philosophical.
First, to Robert Niles:
By Robert NilesWhat's the value of journalism?
The short answer is, of course, "whatever someone will pay for it." But a more thoughtful response gets at why people are willing to exchange something of value for news information.
Economics 101 teaches that if more people want something, and the scarcer it is, the higher the price. With millions of new websites competing for people's attention, advertising rates across all media have plunged, threatening news businesses that depend upon advertising income.
[Hmmm. Tell the Econ 101 argument to poets, and they may beg to differ.
While journalists have long had to contend with the idea that their best work has the value of the Daily Fishwrap, the thing that people pile up unread, throw away daily, or use to line birdcages, poets have lived with this deep knowledge, that their very best work, their best of the best, work that strives for standing the test of time, or ephemeral, contingent, and quickly forgotten work like performance art, has an economic value of precisely ZERO, since before the time of Gutenberg.
Posted on February 11, 2010 at 04:56 PM in Academia, Books, Citizen Journalism, Civil Rights, Copyright & Intellectual Property, Cyberculture, Democracy Theory, Economy, Education, Free Speech, Hypertext Theory, Journalism, Literature, Long Tail, Personal, Photography, Poetry, Social Media, Sustainable Living, Teaching, Television, UCD, Web & Interface Design, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Just another voice in the wind about the very real difficulties facing journalism right now. So many people have talked about a non-profit journalism sector, operating largely along the lines of public radio and public television, with telethon-like beg-fests that apparently turn up a fair amount of cash (much to the annoyance of anyone forced to listen to those interruptions).So, folks reason, this model could be applied elsewhere. It goes back to the first warbloggers, like Christopher Allbritton, working for donations to get to Iraq and be an independent journalist on the ground in-country. I'm not certain that model even worked that well then.
Then there's the sponsorship of the Knight Foundation, with the News Challenge for entrepreneurial journalism (http://www.newschallenge.org/).
Zittrain also pointed to Amazon Mechanical Turk, where people can be put to near-automated work that makes them effectively zombies for largely non-useful purposes such as giving five-star reviews for devices they’ve never used. In this case he thinks government regulation, like the FTC’s new blogging disclosure policy, could be a good thing — at least in the sense that it pressures Amazon to police tasks on its platform.
Posted on December 01, 2009 at 11:17 PM in Academia, Books, Civil Rights, Copyright & Intellectual Property, Cyberculture, Democracy Theory, Economy, Education, Free Speech, Hypertext Theory, Journalism, Literature, Long Tail, Politics, Privacy, Research, Science, Sustainable Living, Teaching, Web & Interface Design, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
The bit I really listened to and took the most away from is about three-quarters of the way through the interview, when Clay starts talking about the way the Pirate Bay lawsuit morphed into the Pirate Political Party in Sweden, with ramifications for the European Parliament. I am definitely going to run out (figuratively, letting my fingers do the running) and find out more about that!
Also (and this relates to a recent post/discussion we were having on our Scatter/Gather work blog), the rest of the discussion from that point forward explores some of my favorite themes about how periods of great growth and intellectual energy are released in times when the sacred and the profane exist in very close proximity to each other. Except that isn't really the way Shirky put it (although others explore this connection, what in the field of Rhetoric you find in Bakhtin and his talk of the discourse of the "carnival")
The simplicity of Twitter, of course, is its genius. It has the power to do so much by doing so little. But that’s not the only thing that’s simple about Twitter. The service itself was only intended to share 140-character messages with the world. Its significance is its evolution. Everything from @replying and retweeting to using hashes and symbols can be attributed to the users. It has brilliantly allowed users to define it – almost entirely. As Shirky points out, “Most of the uses of Twitter were not imagined by the designers of the service – they were managed by the users of the service.”
Posted on November 28, 2009 at 10:55 PM in Academia, Citizen Journalism, Civil Rights, Copyright & Intellectual Property, Cyberculture, Democracy Theory, Economy, Education, Free Speech, Hypertext Theory, Journalism, Long Tail, Research, Social Media, Web & Interface Design, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)
You may have noticed – you could hardly miss it – the blizzard of anniversary stories last month about the fall of Lehman Brothers, an event that helped spark last year's financial meltdown. The coverage reminded me that journalists failed to do their jobs before last year's crisis emerged, and have continued to fail since then.
It also reminds me of a few pet peeves about the way traditional journalists operate. So here's a list of 22 things, not in any particular order, that I'd insist upon if I ran a news organization.He's got me at Number 1, which just happened to be one of my pet peeves too, especially when I worked in TV-Land.
Sad shift work, really, was what it was, for 24-hour news staffers who couldn't get those days off. I didn't mind the national election rituals. But certain non-holidays that lead to a pre-set mandatory programming mantra of cliche's could just make me run around the room screaming. Like the hurricane preparation story, as the hurricane is of course "bearing down," right before it starts to "wreak havock."
How about the Super Bowl Sunday bizarro land programming as a national holiday?OK, maybe it isn't a refuge of "lazy and unimaginative journalists" at all. Nope, I'm sure it isn't. They dread those godawful assignments. The mandate for such "coverage" comes from on high, editorial/management, that you MUST stack a show a certain way on those cliche' days. Mother's Day. All the stories about these days have to have several invocations of "We" in them, and the on-air staff have to chuckle or sigh sadly along with the same remarks from the year before.
Posted on October 07, 2009 at 12:08 AM in Academia, Books, Citizen Journalism, Civil Rights, Cyberculture, Democracy Theory, Education, Free Speech, Hypertext Theory, Journalism, Long Tail, Poetry, Politics, Religion, Research, Satire, Teaching, Television, UCD, Web & Interface Design, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
It is outrageous that this man was just let go from the Washington Post, and I am expecting further outrage to continue to roll around the Nets on this topic.
But in the meantime, this series he did for the Nieman Journalism Lab is just pure gold, and I want to think hard about it.
For now, here's just a few quotes that grabbed me from part one (emphasis below is mine).
I hope to add more on this and his other topics in the next few days, including perhaps some reflections on my own journey to these same conclusions in a year that for some reason kept popping up in my mind today: 1989. Geez, was that really 20 years ago? It was when I had my own personal moment of truth about how I would continue to practice journalism in my life, as a quest, a mission, an avocation, nearly a religion, as Froomkin describes in the paragraph I have bolded below.
Series:Dan Froomkin on news’ future
Our reporters and editors are curious, passionate, and voracious discoverers and devourers of information; talented storytellers; and smart people with excellent bullshit detectors. As long as human beings are curious about each other and clamor for trusted information, there’s a place for us out there. The Internet hasn’t changed that. In fact it’s increased the market for what we’ve got: The Internet highly values people who know things, who can find things out, who can distinguish between what’s important and what’s not, who can distinguish between what’s true and what’s not, and who can communicate succinctly and effectively.
But we’re hiding much of our newsrooms’ value behind a terribly anachronistic format: voiceless, incremental news stories that neither get much traffic nor make our sites compelling destinations. While the dispassionate, what-happened-yesterday, inverted-pyramid daily news story still has some marginal utility, it’s mostly a throwback at this point — a relic of a daily product delivered on paper to a geographically limited community. (For instance, it’s the daily delivery cycle of our print product that led us to focus on yesterday’s news. And it’s the focus on maximizing newspaper circulation that drove us to create the notion of “objectivity” — thereby removing opinion and voice from news stories — for fear of alienating any segment of potential subscribers.)
The Internet doesn’t work on a daily schedule. But even more importantly, it abhors the absence of voice. There’s a reason why opinion writing tends to dominate the most-read lists on our “news” sites. Indeed, what we’ve seen is that Internet communities tend to form around voices — informed, passionate, authoritative voices in particular. (No one wants to read a bored blogger, I always say.)
The right way to reinvent ourselves online would be to do precisely what journalists were put on this green earth to do: Seek the truth, hold the powerful accountable, expose the B.S., explain how things really work, introduce people to each other, and tell compelling stories. And we should do all those things passionately and courageously — not hiding who we are, but rather engaging in a very public expression of our journalistic values.
Posted on June 19, 2009 at 12:31 AM in Academia, Advertising, Books, Citizen Journalism, Civil Rights, Copyright & Intellectual Property, Cyberculture, Democracy Theory, Education, Free Speech, Journalism, Long Tail, Personal, Politics, Research, Television, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)