Yes, it's Republican Primary season : photo by Christopher Dilts for Obama for America
If you are ever anxious about the disappearing craft of journalism and your metaphorical engagement in horse-shoe manufacture during the age of space travel, comfort yourself with the sight of small town American libraries and school gyms heaving with a seemingly limitless throng of media talent. Like a roil of mating frogs in a pond, the ‘pack’ of press that trails around the Primaries, sucking up the West Wing atmosphere shows there is life in the old ecosystem yet. Given the vast numbers of reporters and huge resources thrown at the election, it is a grand time to watch out for digital trends and innovations which news organisations showcase during such events. I thought I would write a few down as an ongoing aide memoire as to which innovations stuck, and which fell by the wayside. Please feel free to add, disagree or amend. Read the rest of this entry »
It used to be the case that the news media’s engagement with social media and the commercial web was once reminiscent of Dr Samuel Johnson’s quote about women preachers ‘..like a dog walking on its hinder legs.It is not done well, but you are surprized to find it done at all’. Not any more.
Rupert Murdoch’s gift to the rest of the ailing packaged media this New Year was his sudden, spontaneous and apparently authentic appearance on Twitter . It is astonishing to see (apparently) a man that the world’s media media has spent decades trying to decode, announcing as a casual aside that he favours Rick Santorum in the GOP race . The feverish delight at his debut gave way to slow news day speculation about his interest in Twitter in general. I was one among many wondering (on Twitter, naturally) what would happen if Rupert Murdoch liked Tweeting so much, he bought the company?
A Murdoch purchase of Twitter is not the point of the thought experiment. The point is really to sharpen focus for journalists on what their use of third party platforms really means for the long term. Read the rest of this entry »
Dean Starkman’s long read on ‘the news gurus’ in the Columbia Journalism Review starts out with the story of the remarkable Ida Tarbell, a template for the modern investigative reporter, whose work in 1904 took on Rockerfeller’s Standard Oil. He tells us about Tarbell to remind us how different journalism has become – and inevitably so. Whilst acknowledging that those days have past, the piece draws a line between institutional support and individual journalistic power which, argues Starkman, has been recently undermined by a school of thought which elevates and promotes the idea of networks ahead of professional journalists and institutions.
The piece sets out to argue that the people at the center of the consensus, Jeff Jarvis, Jay Rosen, Clay Shirky and Dan Gillmor, have been misguided Read the rest of this entry »
I am sure the public editor of the New York Times will be thrilled to know that Monday is ‘free advice day’, so he is in luck with the question he posed this week in his column: Occupy Wall Street: How Should It Be Covered Now? . The piece includes some great advice from the men who were asked, and some even more good advice in the comments section, from the wider audience. But, as it’s free advice day I thought it would be wrong to pass up the opportunity.
In a post on Friday I suggested that OWS has some lessons for newsrooms, Read the rest of this entry »
The announcement from Google, that it is going to allow journalists to become more visible in its Google News service, as long as they have a profile on the Google+ social platform has sparked some comment and reaction. My own initial reaction was instinctively negative, whilst others, such as the journalist Alex Howard, whose views I respect a great deal, were largely positive. In fact Alex has summed up those initial reactions rather well here . Whilst I really don’t want to come over all Evgeny Morozov about it, and naysaying a great leap forward for journalistic transparency, I still feel that we should be questioning the ‘inevitable’ more closely, as it marks not progress but a regression. Read the rest of this entry »
Slightly late, here is the link to my latest Guardian column which discusses why I am sceptical about the potential for success of an iPad app which is going to absorb a large amount of investment and carry 100 staff. The comments at the bottom are as ever well worth reading, although I don’t come out of them particularly well.
A slow Labor Day news day maybe I thought when I noticed that the NYT was carrying a piece on Monday entitled : ‘Some Newspapers, Tracking Readers Online, Shift Coverage’. As old news goes this is positively antediluvian isn’t it? Despite the fact that most newsrooms have developed metric tracking systems for their websites, and many use them creatively and effectively, it remains a controversial area. Quoted in the piece, Bill Keller, editor of the New York Times says :
“We don’t let metrics dictate our assignments and play….because we believe readers come to us for our judgment, not the judgment of the crowd. We’re not ‘American Idol.’ ”
Read the rest of this entry »
Interesting article from The Economist about the death of blogging:
The evolving blogosphere: An empire gives way | The Economist.
Are they right?