Rebooting the News #24

In Podcast on September 8, 2009 by Dave Winer

Recorded at 9AM Pacific today, notes as usual by Jay.

A big day in Userland

ReadWriteWeb: “WordPress Just Made Millions of Blogs Real-Time With RSSCloud.” (Sep. 7, 2009)

We discuss what this development means and how we’re moving closer to the “loosely coupled 140-character network,” which would be as de-centralized as the Internet itself. As Dave said at Scripting News, “The idea is to deliver news faster, without relying on a single company to do all the work.”

Jay: “So this changes blogging… how?”

Dave: “Makes it like Twitter.”

Bottom line: the great de-centralization is underway.

Updating J-school

Columbia University’s J-School decided to bring all students to school three weeks before the start of classes for special technology training. We talk about why that’s smart.

User-funded reporting on the Pacific Garbage Patch

On September 8, Lindsey Hoshaw set sail for The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a huge pool of debris out in the middle of the Pacific that’s been known about for a while but rarely reported on or photographed. Her trip has been funded by users who think it’s an important venture. That happened at, the crowd-funding site for investigative journalism created by David Cohn, who used to work with Jay on NewAssignment.Net. (Background: See Lindsey’s original pitch in July 2009 and Jay’s original post for NewAssignment.Net back in 2006.) The New York Times has agreed to run her account and photos if they are up to Times standards. Meanwhile you can follow along on Twitter by adding thegarbagegirl.

That’s the re-booted system of news at work, already at work!

Dave: we’ve had reporters there before. Anyone who sailed by the Garbage Patch could have been our correspondent on the scene. We just have to teach them to do it.

Jay: it’s unlikely we’d be able to fund a reporter and a photographer and a videographer, which is why it’s important for journalists to be able to do multiple things.

J-School on the agricultural extension model.

Like land grant universities have always done with farmers in their states, journalism schools need to extend their mission beyond the students who show up for classes to also educate the cultivators of news wherever they are found. Jay: “The essence of journalism as a truthtelling discipline is verification, and the more people who understand that the stronger the news system will be.”

When the Cluetrain Manifesto for a rebooted system of news is written the very first principle will be: everyone connected to the Internet is part of that system.

Everyone and everything! Dave: I got a tweet this morning from the Bay Bridge.

Independence day for url shortners

Jay and Dave discuss, the url shortener that Jay now owns and operates himself. (See and Dave’s post.) There’s a connection between owning your own equipment and feeling independent: free to do it your own way.

Dave: Having your own is very American. Everyone should learn a little bit about being Internet system operator.

The backstory button

That’s the name Jay came up with for what should be a standing feature in the rebooted system of news. It’s like the buttons, now standard, that allow you to comment or share via Facebook. The backstory button says, “If you need to know to the big narrative out of which this news story arises, click here and we’ll send you there.” This in turn would enable a market for syndicated explainers that news sites could choose from for connecting their backstory buttons.

(Backstory to this idea 🙂 Matt Thompson’s post, “The 3 key parts of news stories you usually don’t get,” and Pressthink, National Explainer.)

Sources of inspiration

This week (Jay’s turn) it’s the journalists and web heads from Germany who published the Internet Manifesto: “How journalism works today. 17 declarations.” (Jay’s favorite: Number 12. “Tradition is not a business model.”) The document shows that rebooting the news and re-thinking the press is an international cause– in fact a global community.

reboot09Sep08.mp3 (audio/mpeg, 10.3MB)
Tuesday, November 3, 2009.

One Response to “Rebooting the News #24”

  1. Buy land. They’ve stopped making it. – Mark Twain 1835 – 1910

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: