Let's try a simple count of locally produced news stories in your daily newspaper. Yes, the print edition. The whole news system feeds off the flow of newspaper content, right? Lots of people asking, what's going to replace newspapers if they can't make it? Expecting amateurs to step in is dumb, and it won't happen. But before we can face this matter of "replace" head on we at least need some current numbers. Let's find out what the printed newspaper on the local level has been able to deliver recently, so we know in rough, round terms what we have...more »
Idea Lab is a group blog by innovators who are reinventing community news for the Digital Age.
Each Idea Lab blogger is a winner of the Knight News Challenge grant to reshape community news.Learn more about the Knight News Challenge »
Maybe information and explanation ought to be reversed in our order of thought. Especially as we contemplate new news systems. What put me in that mind is a special episode of "This American Life" called The Giant Pool of Money. It's a one-hour explainer on the mortgage crisis, the product of an unusual collaboration between Ira Glass, the host and force behind This American Life, Alex Blumberg, who works with Glass, and NPR, which lent economics correspondent Adam Davidson. He used to work for the show he was collaborating with. If you don't know "The Giant Pool of Money" you...more »
Ever wondered: where's the time going to come from for all these nifty open source ventures people are planning? Clay Shirky says we got plenty. He just gave an extremely useful and imaginative speech to Web heads about where we are in media time. Shirky, who teaches in a different program at NYU, has a new book out: Here Comes Everybody ("The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.") But this speech stands alone. You can read it here, but you should really watch him here-- after reading this post. The clip is less than 15 minutes. It lets you think along...more »
Two weeks ago I participated in a forum on newspapers and the net put on by Britannica Blog. The tone was: are newspapers doomed and does anyone care? My part includes this: At many a conference I have attended on new media and journalism, some old pro whose subsidy is fast disappearing will (mentally) place hands on hips and say about the Internet as a whole, "Well, that's all very nice, very Web 2.0, but where's the business model, people?" As if that were some kind of contribution. I can't tell you how disconcerting-and weird-I find some of these performances....more »
Two weeks ago I said at Idea Lab that NewAssignment.Net's third major project--after Assignment Zero and OffTheBus.Net--will be Beatblogging.org. My idea was to run parallel experiments to see whether "beat reporting with a social network" is a viable pro-am method in journalism-- or just an attractive concept. I said I was trying to recruit at least 12 beat reporters and get their editors on board with a simple proposition... Maybe a beat reporter could do a way better job if there was a "live" social network connected to the beat, made up of people who know the territory the beat...more »
By now you may have heard about the implosion of Wide Open, a political blog started by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer featuring four voices from the ranks of local bloggers: two left, two right. They were paid as freelance contributors. Here's the way the "reader representative," Ted Diadiun, described the meltdown. It began when Rep. Steve LaTourette, a Republican Congressman, found out that one of the Wide Open bloggers, Jeff Coryell of Cleveland Heights, had contributed $100 to his opponent. LaTourette was unhappy that the newspaper would pay someone who financially supported his opponent to write political opinion. He complained to...more »
Below is a lightly revised version of a letter that went out last week to a number of professional news organizations--some big and famous, some small and unsung--asking if they want to participate in the figuring out. My goal is to find 12 willing beat reporters at 12 newsrooms. I have about 7 to 8 of the 12 signed up now. Interested in participating? Email me or leave a comment This is a simple project testing a single idea: Maybe a beat reporter could do a way better job if there was a "live" social network connected to the beat,...more »
I am at the Online News Association annual meeting in Toronto. Listening to some of the speakers at the J-Lab's workshop, puzzling through the success of some sites and the failure of others, and putting together what I have learned from four years of doing PressThink, the emerging model I see would combine... √ High quality aggregation within a strong editorial focus. (Like the Huffington Post nationally, or Twin Cities Daily Planet locally.) √ Blogging platform with the best posts filtered to the front page. (Like Daily Kos) √ Original reporting with hybrid strength: amateurs with pro support (training, production...more »
It started with: let's take a beat reporter at a local newspaper with a strong online presence and develop with that reporter a beat-specific "smart mob" or social network that would help in reporting stories and doing a better job on the beat. I would secure the cooperation of the paper and its editor, and find a willing reporter for the test. With that idea I applied to the Knight News Challenge 2006 competition. I thought I would start with a single reporter covering a local beat in a particular place. My pilot project, NewAssignment.Net, would work with the journalist...more »
At the recent Networked Journalism Summit I referenced a darker argument on the future of online advertising by Doc Searls. Here is where I discuss it. Because I write about the Internet and what it's doing to the press, and follow that story at my blog, I am sometimes asked what I believe the future of newspapers to be. Or, more bluntly, "will newspapers survive?" Very rarely is anyone satisfied with my answer: "I really don't know what's going to happen." (I like that answer, myself.) "... And I don't think anyone does." Not knowing what the model is, we...more »
I think newspapers, blogs, and magazines should all be doing audio versions. I grew up enjoying and listening to audiobooks and now I don't have the same option for the short form content that I prefer to consume.
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