2011 was a big year for news—from the Arab Spring uprisings to the debt-ceiling meltdown, to quakes, floods hurricanes and the Republican presidential smackdown. Fortunately, the year also saw the emergence of a new approach to presenting breaking news—reported aggregation, a form that offers the chance of a truce in the battle over original reporting vs. aggregation (aka Bill Keller vs. Arianna Huffington). Reported aggregation blends curation, social media, and traditional, pick-up-the-phone-or-hit-the-streets reporting to deliver up-to-the-minute coverage of breaking news and, increasingly, ongoing coverage of in-depth stories. Successes include Andy Carvin's breathtaking Twitter feed, which combines you-are-there retweets with crowdsourced verification and original contributions, is one example; Mother Jones' highly popular explainers, which Nieman Labs called "a fascinating fusion between a liveblog and a Wikipedia page;" HuffPo's and Slate's ongoing experiments with curation/reporting blends; and more. In this session, we'll look at what makes this form so successful, share ideas and best practices, review tools that will work for even the most tech-hating hack, and discuss the potential of reported aggregation as a new gold standard for breaking news.
The scientific method revolutionized the world of truth-seeking. Yet journalism - which, like science, seeks truth - is far less rigorous. We’ll walk through why this gap has led to record levels of distrust in journalism, and why journalism that’s replicable, trackable, and reviewable can help to restore that trust.
To be clear, journalism isn't science. It's got tight deadlines and other limits on its ability to gather evidence, no peer review, and often, very little that resembles methodology. But online tools and new reporting techniques are enabling journalists to be much more scientific in their methods.
From the rise of database journalism, which adds empirical rigor to narrative journalism’s fog of anecdotes, to the emergence of accountability projects that permit tracking and peer review over time, we’ll outline a system of news that can help us better discern the truth amid a rising onslaught of information. We’ll focus our session on identifying solutions and painting a vivid and inspiring picture of what journalism can become.
J-Lab counts more than 1,200 entrepreneurial news start-ups around the country. Placeblogger counts 4,000-plus placeblogs. These sites often get bad raps from traditional media for being the equivalent of unlicensed drivers behind the wheels of quasi-journalistic enterprises, trafficking in rumors and opinion. Yet many are trying to do the right things, tip-toeing through pay-to-play pressures from advertisers, navigating the reporting of locals' minor infractions, sunsetting search-engine tidbits, and fielding partisan accusations from political candidates. A corps of entrepreneurs is developing new codes of rights and wrongs.
9th–13th March 2012