Where the journalists aren't: the Marketplaces/Drilling Down on Local conference, a gathering of industry execs and venture investors. The "how do we make money on local" question that is generally the conversation ender at journalism confabs is the conversation beginner at this gathering, where the first panels are stocked with venture investors talking about what they will -- and will not fund, and what they expect to get back, and why. The tone -- and the dress code -- are totally different than those you might find at ONA or Poynter. I'm in stealth mode. (Don't tell anyone: I'm wearing...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 »
Yesterday I got to go to the MIT Media Lab to sit in on a gathering of researchers and graduate students involved with the Center for Future Civic Media. It's hard not to get all fangirl when going to the Media Lab. I mean, I used to read about this place in issues of Wired back before they adopted rational typography! We all got brief presentations on three projects at different stages of development. One, Virtual Gaza, took eyewitness testimonies from people living in Gaza and overlaid them on a Google Virtual Earth layer. Another, called Between the Bars, was...more »
Today, the New York Times is hosting TimesOPEN, their first developer conference. We're now listening to tech book publisher Tim O'Reilly, but just a few minutes ago Janet Robinson, President and CEO of the New York Times Company, concluded her remarks. As a nonjournalist, I never developed the skill to take shorthand, but I did my best to transcribe her remarks: We're encouraging you today to be part of our past, part of our present, and definitely part of our future...Today we are asking you to be part of our future and to shine a spotlight on what our future...more »
You've heard about the housing bubble. And the dot-com bubble. I'm here to tell you about The Journalism Bubble. Anybody who's paying attention to the state of journalism in the US is aware of the financial crisis facing the news industry. And there's wide agreement on the cause of the crisis: advertising revenue for print and broadcast is declining, and advertising revenue for internet offerings is not rising fast enough to make up the difference. That's true. It's also a completely inadequate explanation for the waves of layoffs, bankruptcies, and outright closures of news organizations. There is a journalism bubble....more »
My friend and fellow citizen-journalism thinker Amy Gahran once asked, "Was Zapruder a journalist?" Zapruder's home-movie camera captured the famous footage of the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, TX. If your answer to that question is yes, then there were an untold number of journalists on the Oakland BART train platform on New Year's Day, where they pointed increasingly ubiquitous pocket-size video cameras toward Oscar Grant and BART transit police officer Johannes Mehserle. The videos these onlookers took show the chilling final interaction between Grant and Mehserle, which left Grant dead, and Oakland in a...more »
...it is hard to imagine what America would look like without the small and shrinking number of people who engage in painstaking, firsthand research in order to separate the truth from the body of supposed facts, and who keep the rest of us honest. That's what David Samuels wrote about John Coster-Mullens, the author of a book-length work on the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. You know what's surprising about this? The man who's being accorded this respect is not and never has been a journalist: he's a truck driver. 2009 looks to be a year...more »
Now, I had something all ready to post, but I loved Chris O'Brien's post on Mistakes I Made With The Next Newsroom Project that I'm going to do one of my own. I've been working on Placeblogger, a 2007 News Challenge Winner, with Tish Grier, over the past year and a half. Like a lot of technical projects, Placeblogger had a ski-jump-like curve of complexity and features; when you're making something new online, you often do a ton of work in the background before anyone sees anything at all. That's one of the things that makes our most recent release...more »
[With apologies to Wallace Stevens.] If you decide to venture beyond talking about how your news organization's site should work into actually changing how it does work, there's one essential skill you'll have to learn: how to talk to a programmer. Most nonprogrammers have no idea how to communicate their idea for a new feature or a whole new website in a way that's going to be useful to the person who's actually building that site. Here are thirteen tips to get you started on the road to fluency: Learn how to write a spec. One of the biggest frustrations...more »
The web offers news organizations whole new ways to present complex stories to readers, but even the emergence of free tools hasn't made online databases or Google Maps mashups a daily commonplace in your average news organization's website. Often, that's because the effort involved in building a rich, complex visualization is just too high for it to become an everyday occurrence. But what if those days are coming to a close? Enter ManyEyes, a free service created by one of IBM's research labs that allows near-instant interactive visualizations of a data set. Your Excel spreadsheet of public job salaries and...more »
Journalism is becoming a high tech industry, and that means that career norms for journalists are approaching those of high tech workers -- shorter job tenures, working for smaller companies, and much more. Here are ten things that can help journalists survive Web 2.0 with their sanity intact: High tech is a boom and bust industry. We get laid off when the economy is good, and we get laid off when the economy is bad. Investors get fed up and pull the plug on small companies; at big companies, the CEO must, on ceremonial occasions, throw a few sacrificial victims...more »
Massive layoffs with no end in sight. Wave after wave of acquisitions and mergers fueled by the excesses of artificially cheap capital. Widespread fear that an entire industry and its contributions will stall or simply stop.
This describes the news industry today, but it also described the high tech industry in the late eighties and early nineties.more »
How can technology improve on even the best journalistic work and help journalists hold officials to account? In the first of the News Is Code series, we take a look at the recent Pulitzer won by Dana Priest and Anne Hull of the Washington Post for their series on conditions at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.more »
"People misunderstood what we mean by innovative -- they looked at what won last year and applied it to a kind, cute, delightful new content area that made us just cry when we had to reject it." -- Gary Kebbel, Knight Foundation, speaking at the Berkman Center for the Internet and Society about the process of judging applications for Year 2 of the Knight 21st Century News Challenge grants....more »
Debbie Galant of Baristanet has launched the Baristanet Book Club, opening with an author interview conducted by Jay McInerney: So, why is Jay McInerney writing for Baristanet? It starts with the precipitous decline in book reviewing by mainstream media, a trend documented here and much fretted about by authors, reviewers, and publishers. As an author, I knew about this. But who thought I could be part of the solution? Well, Paul Bogaards, a Glen Ridge resident, avid Baristanet reader and executive at Knopf, did. In mid-September, he invited me to a lunch with representatives from the Association of American Publishers...more »
Placeblogger launched on January 1, 2007. Done on a shoestring budget using open source tools, Placeblogger let people find and see the large and growing number of placeblogs -- weblogs devoted to a particular geographic community. Placeblogger's origins can be traced back to a lunch in an Italian restaurant in San Francisco, in June of 2006. I was seated with Jay Rosen of Pressthink and Dan Gillmor, author of We The Media and director of the freshly-minted Center for Citizen Media. Jay asked me, "How many blogs like yours do you think there are?" And, just pulling a number out,...more »
"Is the Zapruder film citizen journalism?" Amy Gahran, 2005 To paraphrase Dave Winer, "You'll make more money because of your blog than from your blog." But read the whole thing. The net rewards narrow comprehensiveness -- " everything about something. Listen to Brewster Kahle, who runs the Internet Archive....more »
Hello World! Seems fitting to open this new space with this traditional greeting, used by humans upon first interaction with a new computing environment. My name is Lisa Williams, and along with 23 others writing on this blog, I am one of the winners of the Knight 21st Century News Challenge. I pause here, because if there is one thing that blogging has taught me, it is to distinguish what I know from what I just think I know. When I don't, well, that's what my friend and fellow blogger Shimon Rura calls "self-teaching through shame" kicks in in the...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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