January 9, 2009

Journalism's future: Do, preach, pick

From the Google Reader today, I find some preaching and some doing aimed at saving newspapers, or at least, the news business. Plus, there's a reminder you can help pick out a journalism leader.

First the doing - an effort by some Washington journalists who worked together to cover flooding. Their work is highlighted in Networked link journalism: A revolution quietly begins in Washington state over on Publishing 2.0.

Josh Korr's explanation of a "little inovation for journalism - "few Tweets, a bunch of links, and some like-minded pioneers" includes this:
"That’s how a quiet revolution began in Washington state Wednesday. Four journalists spontaneously launched one of the first experiments in collaborative (or networked) link journalism to cover a major local story.

But it gets better. Those four journalists weren’t in the same newsroom. In fact, they all work for different media companies. And here’s the best part: Some of them have never even met in person."

Click over to see examples of the Twitters and learn more about the effort.

Some preaching - News Content: Newspapers' Future Strategy May be the Aggregation of News Sources - found through Robin Good's Latest News on Master New Media shares these ideas for newsapers from John Blossom.
  • Get Better Than Bloggers and Search Engines at Aggregating News
  • Love Print as a Service, Not as Your Brand
  • Enable Community-generated News More Effectively (Think sports scores, eye-witness accounts, traffic reports, breaking news alerts)

Blossom, who offers services for publishers and consumers of content services, concludes:

"There's no doubt that many news organizations are hitting the right buttons in making decisions on the future of making money from news, but the pace at which those decisions are being made has left a gaping chasm between the cost of sustaining their greatest revenue-generator - print publishing - and the cost of investing more heavily in online publishing methods that will carry them forward to long-term profitability.

As much as online is the answer, though, I think that it's time for publishers to take a far more radical approach to print as soon as possible. Print will survive and thrive - the only question is, in whose hands? The time to release the medium from the brand is at hand, and it can come none too soon for most news organizations' bottom lines."

Speaking of doing, I wish I was in Texas so I could get to a workshop offered by Baylor University's Institute for Oral History. The Retooling Oral History in a Digital Age Workshop promises to explore how digital tools like audio and video can change the interview.

The effect of the tools on the collection of oral history, or stories, has been on my mind for a long time. It came up again over the holidays as once again I heard many people balking at the idea of their photo being taken or ducking when a video camera turns their way.

How will that reluctance affect what is remembered years from now. I think some answers would come up at that workshop.

(For an explanation of how journalism and oral history relates, check out Kissing Cousins.)

Still got time - today's the last day to help pick tomorrow's journalist.


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