So – what’s missing?
This is the second part of my inaugural lecture at City University London, ‘Is Ice Cream Strawberry?’. The first part can be found here.
Cars, roads and picnics
Throughout the 20th century there were two ways of getting big things done – and a third way of getting small things done. Clay Shirky sums these up very succinctly in terms of how people organise car production, road building, and picnics.
If you want to organise the production of cars, you use market systems. If you want to organise the construction of roads, you use central, state systems of funding – because there is a benefit to all. And if you want to organise a picnic, well, you use social systems.
In the media industry these three line up neatly with print, broadcast and online production.
The newspaper industry grew up in spite of government regulation.
The broadcast industry grew up thanks to government regulation.
And online media grew up while the government wasn’t looking. Continue reading
This year I’m aiming to blog all of my course materials for online journalism. Yesterday was the first class, so below is the PowerPoint for what I call Passive-Aggressive Newsgathering: using RSS and social media for newsgathering.
Note: the Online Journalism module is aimed at second year undergraduates on the degree in journalism I teach on.
Above is an image representing how journalism has traditionally been done:
- You went and gathered your information
- You put it all together in an attractive package: the article, the broadcast package
- And someone else took that to the readers or viewers
That linear process is pretty much redundant online.
See the diagram below. I’ve found myself drawing this so often recently that I thought I should put it online and save some ink.
The point is clear. Thanks to networked technologies – and RSS in particular – there is no reason why newsgathering cannot also be news production, or news distribution. For example:
- You bookmark something on Delicious (newsgathering). That is published on Delicious, your blog, Twitter, and/or your news website (see Jemima Kiss’s PDA Newsbucket), and distributed via RSS which can be embedded anywhere
- You ask a question on Twitter (newsgathering). That is published on Twitter, and distributed via RSS – perhaps as a widget on your blog or Facebook.
- You film some raw material on your mobile phone using Qik. It’s published on Qik, with an update posted to Twitter too. The video feed is embedded on your blog or news site, and once again RSS distributes it anywhere you or someone else wants.
I could go on, but here are the implications: 1) a web-savvy journalist or news operation will seek to make as much of their activity visible in this way as possible, adding value to what they do and providing numerous access points for users. It’s for this reason I’m a massive fan of social bookmarking (it also makes it very easy to find things you read previously)
2) Journalism is becoming less polished, more iterative and more networked. Broadcast and print do the ‘finished version’ pretty well – online, we’re often happy with raw information, with the emphasis on ‘raw’.
3) As I’ve said before, the journalist (along with their readers) is now the distributor. You cannot leave that job to someone else. The more active, visible and social you are online, the better for your work both commercially and editorially.
Any thoughts? More examples?
Last week I spoke at the BBC College of Journalism’s Future of Journalism conference about the future newsroom, and the News Diamond specifically. Chair Louise Minchin asked the following question: did these new production processes mean journalists would become more passive?
It is a great question. On the surface that’s what would appear to be happening: in posting alerts and blog drafts you are inviting the input of the audience and therefore being more reactive. Continue reading