Not even in full beta yet. Could be cool
A good thought experiment I use often, except I think “Roman Times” – “You are sitting in a medieval village. Now ask yourself â?? where will you get your news?” My answer continues to be – physical space – “public baths”
Monthly archives for March, 2008
While helping to organize the next Journalism that Matters conference – which is going to take place at Yahoo’s Silicon Valley headquarters, Chris Peck, Chris O’brien, Martin Reynolds, Kara Andrade and others helped to map out the relationships that exist in a traditional newsroom. It is called Value Network Mapping and an example of it is show to the right.
While creating this network map we talked about newsroom practices of old (watch this video) – so that we could later tear them apart in a web-centric distributed newsroom. What I found interesting, particularly when describing newsroom values to non-journalists in the room like Kaliya Hamlin, who I think understands the web innately, was that journalists really do have a strong culture. We have our own words: Nut graf, billboard, lede – we have positions or social hierarchies, stringers, copy editors, reporters, we have a set of values, neutrality, accuracy, etc. These are all signs of a culture. It’s that same culture which many people think needs to be utterly redefined this year. So I thought I’d take this post to re-think some of the very basic aspects of our culture.
Artifacts of Newsroom culture
The Lede: Why it’s spelled wrong.
It’s not a made up word. It’s pronounced lead — as in "I am in the
lead," but when newspapers were printed back in the day people used to
get it confused with lead (the metal) which was in the ink. So to clear
the confusion between production matters (how much lead is in the ink)
and editorial matters they changed the spelling.
History of the "Inverted Pyramid"
At least the story I was told: The inverted pyramid became standard during the days of the telegraph. There was always a fear that the line would get cut and transmission would end abruptly. With that looming over every reporters head, they would transmit the most important information first – until the reached the least important information, creating the inverted pyramid we know and love.
What do we need from these?
- Brevity – reader’s still have short attention spans. Even worse online with blue hyperlinks everywhere.
- Clarity – KISS
- Accuracy – Duh.
But there are some aspects of the lede that we don’t need anymore.
- Distanced voice: Blogs are personal. We live in a fractured media world where we rely on individual people, not organizations, to let us know what’s going on. Can we be quick and personable at the same time?
- The spelling: It’s great to pay tribute to the journalists of old – but not if it means confusing readers. They should be the center of what we do now, not old production matters long since passed.
- Start with the nut graf: It’s a stretch – but if done quickly, it might serve better than the who, what, where, when approach that saves the nut for the 4th or 5th graph.
Of course – every written story is unique. The point isn’t to erase old standards to create new ones. My point is simply to take a step back – realize we are ingrained in a culture that was defined a long time ago – and systematically unpack everything we do. From how we contact sources (phone and email versus Facebook or Twitter) to what we envision as our final goal (to inform versus to enable).
After a year-and-a-half of experience soliciting material from its audiences, CNN is embarking on a new approach worth observing.
Amid the hand-wringing about the downward spiral of print economics, one recurring fear has been the fate of expensive, time-consuming investigative journalism.
Journalists and technologists will rub elbows from April 30 through May 3 in Sunnyvale, California, at a conference called â??NewsTools 2008â? â?? a gathering that promises to bring together people who really need to know each other better.
Via J.D. Lasica: Here’s a Big Crazy List of social networking sites for video. In other words, the top 100 video social networks.
co-founder Michael Tippett sought to dismiss the idea that sites like NowPublic.com would replace traditional newspapers: Newspapers will always play a role in peopleâ??s reading habits, in their news diet. Thereâ??s a certain pleasure in reading a newspa
Willow Glen 2.0 is a place for Willow Glenners to get together and share their Willow Glen experience. You can create a blog, share your pictures, read local news edited by local editors, discuss local topics in the forum, and share your life in Willow Gl
I just got off the air from an hourlong interview with Jonathan Rowe, host of the talk show “America Offline” on KWMR, the community radio station in West Marin County.