Articles

Rebooting the News #25

In Podcast on September 14, 2009 by Dave Winer

Our guest this week is Dan Gillmor, author of We The Media. He runs the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State and he’s a former technology columnist for San Jose Mercury News.

I don’t get this, so explain it to me.

“Let me see if I’ve got this straight.” We spend the first half of the show in Q and A, as Dan Gillmor does what he used to do as tech reporter. He drills down and asks Dave Winer to explain RSScloud, what’s new about it, what makes it real time, and why it will (eventually) matter to users.

Dave: Before we could put a person on the moon, we have to orbit the earth, and do space walks, and docking. Right now, RSS cloud is at the “orbit the earth stage.” Until you get broad support from vendors in this space there isn’t that much you can do with it. But: “My hope is that (eventually) it is virtually indistinguishable from Twitter.”

There are three software components to the new system: Cloud software, the authoring tool and the aggregator. WordPress has implemented the first two. I built my own aggregator, River2.

Q. Why not have RSS readers just poll sites every 10 seconds instead of every hour? A: It would clog the Internet.

Dan: So the net effect is we have amazing redundancy and we don’t have to worry about the system crashing.

“We’re already using it, Jay”

Many shows ago, Dave said, “We’re already using it, Jay” meaning the rebooted system for news. As a little sign of that, reporter Brian Stelter of the New York Times said this on Twitter (Sep. 3, 2009):

My blog post about “GMA” http://bit.ly/djbpT is the 1st draft of a bigger story. So please comment, annotate it, ask questions, poke holes!

That’s the pro-am portion of the rebooted system of news. Stelter’s already using it. Dan: “It’s wonderful that it’s happening; it’s unfortunate that it took so long.” (See also his post, “Eleven Things I’d Do If I Ran a News Organization.”)

The misinformation game

As blogger Simon Owens reports, Factcheck.org has realized that it has to go horizontal, and start looking at widely circulated emails too, because the news doesn’t only move vertically, from the news media to the audience, but also peer-to-peer, through sharing networks. Therefore the check has to be embedded into those networks, as well.

Dan: They’re taking a page from Snopes, which is a good idea.

Jay: “Of course the problem is that it’s hard to distribute the fact check within the same system as the misinformation that’s circulating.” We have to interest as many people as we can in playing a part in that checking process.

Inspirations of the week

Dave’s turn. He names developers Blake Ross, Joe Hewitt, Matt Mullenweg and Joseph Scott, all in their 20s. They’ve not only built successful platforms, but they build on what they have done.

reboot09Sep14.mp3 (audio/mpeg, 10.4MB)
Monday, September 14, 2009.

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