Reporters and editors work in ways that are still largely tied to old print and broadcast models. Applying lessons from computer science can help make journalism more scalable, flexible and personalized.
This panel will discuss developments such as object-oriented programming, model-view controller frameworks, database-driven Web applications and social code repositories -- and explore how these principles can be applied to journalism and create the future of storytelling.
For example, making stories in an object-oriented mindset can help journalists work more efficiently, reusing and building on past work. Stories can be created as structured data that can be mashed up and viewed in more flexible ways by readers. Readers can get personalized stories that highlight what's new to them -- rather than having to read through what they already know to glean the latest news.
What do you think the future of journalism should look like? As technology enables a new era of both journalism and media business, both are being redefined through new tools and practices. Activists, dissidents and whistleblowers have a global platform for protest, and journalists can tap an unprecedented range and depth of sources. But what are the best models for sharing information and collaborating through the internet? Information may want to be free, but how should it be organised? And what do the mechanisms of networked journalism and collaboration look like?
Journalists, and the organisations they work for, need to incorporate new technologies and adapt the ways they work, breaking down the walls between themselves and readers and placing themselves at the centre of the conversation. What are the limitations of existing tools? How does journalism need to adapt, and how could a network of collaboration help that transformation? What have been the most successful examples of open journalism so far?
As discussion over the neutrality of the internet intensifies, perhaps we should consider a new, non-commercial internet space free from government intervention - a new interpretation of the fourth estate. A digital public space where copyright and collaboration are reinvented. What can journalism and the media learn from successful 'openness' campaigns of the web, of business and open government?
The web was supposed to kill longform journalism, relegate it to a slow demise in the pasture of print. The stories were just too long, conventional wisdom held. The web was about the efficient delivery of information—who had time to read 5,000 words on a browser, let alone pay for the privilege?
Longform journalism was going to die. And it almost did.
But the combination of elegant mobile devices and innovative apps has proven that the audience for longform journalism still exists—and has the potential to grow. Turns out, the problem wasn’t that the stories were too long. People love stories! The problem was that nobody had spent much time thinking about how best, for readers, to present and distribute them digitally.
At the same moment that many publishers were being forced to give up on the feasibility of longform work, readers were finally given the tools to read pieces when, how, and where they wanted to.
This panel will discuss: what those tools are, how they’re being used, how some publishers are taking advantage of them, how other publishers are failing to take advantage of them, how the digital reading experience will continue to evolve, why journalists will always be the core audience for longform journalism, the iPad and the Kindle, Instapaper and Readability, and whether or not anyone is making any money from this stuff.
This panel will not discuss: the upside of paginating long stories.
News organizations are investing a lot of faith and hope into news apps for tablets. Although they have embraced the iPad in different ways, similar design, product, and user experience problems have surfaced. What strategies must be applied to craft design experiences that are more illustrious than the browser? Through taming APIs, feeds, and algorithms, can they entice readers, seasoned and new to make an app a part of their daily news consumption ritual? With stakeholders from both the print and digital world, how do teams surface, manage, and design for divergent expectations? We have made it through the launch, and subsequent updates to, the first news iPad apps and will discuss design considerations and constraints we’ve encountered through this process.
Disruptive technologies and corroding trust in business have combined turn Marshall McLuhan’s adage “the medium is the message” inside out. Information now spreads laterally, triggered not by institution but by individual. The message is the messenger. This panel will explore how four individuals are reshaping the design, consulting, PR and journalism industries by understanding how information is consumed today.
How did a nonprofit news operation scoop the New York Times and Washington Post in breaking news and on-the-ground photos and video of the BP oil spill catastrophe? And why did drive-by readers suddenly become community evangelists for this coverage, spreading the word about reporters' Twitter feeds, supporting investigations financially, and going vigilante on rude website commenters? We'll tell you step by step how Mother Jones magazine did it and how you can replicate our wild success. We'll also talk about how a print-media stalwart can transform itself into a nimble 24/7 news operation, and why social media is God's gift to journalism. Bring your ideas, this will be an interactive session: We'll highlight 5 other under-the-radar media experiments and why they worked, 10 practical tips media professionals need to learn from Silicon Valley, and work with interested audience members in a (gentle) experimental pitch slam.
How the iconic news organization is changing with the changing times: A conversation with Bill Keller, the paper's executive editor, about journalism in an era of nonstop news, the new definition of competition, the possibilities and perils of collaboration, the truth about Wiki Leaks and what to expect after the Times launches their digital metered model.
by Blake Eskin
Many print journalists, even those who resisted change, are trying to embrace the digital future. Twenty-year veterans take up social media after taking a buyout, and journalism programs now give aspiring reporters basic multimedia skills. But a facility with Twitter or Soundslides combined with an occupational knack for asking questions won't always add up to the skills necessary to redesign a Web site or create an app. The truth is, journalists and programmers think in fundamentally different ways—words vs. code; stories vs. systems—and often have a hard time communicating and collaborating. And the problem is asymmetrical; most programmers can quickly grasp enough about journalism to work with journalists, but it's much harder to get, say, a midlevel editor to understand the basics of software development or database design. I often find myself wishing I could recommend a course to that colleague or to an unemployed journalist that would teach them how the other half thinks. Most of us have had to muddle through on our own, until we have a road to Damascus moment. But there's got to be a better way. How can we teach journalists to think about technology?
11th–15th March 2011