“How I learned to stop worrying and love the fail whale.”
Dave will be presenting at the 140 characters conference in Los Angeles. “It’s not bad news that we get the fail whale because it reminds us that there is life after Twitter.”
Bing, Google and Twitter search
Big news in search of the live web last week.
Dave: “Twitter may have just gotten embraced and extended.
“Real time delivery of information: isn’t that what news is?”
Jeff: Tinker.com has had the fire hose from Twitter. They try to suss out what is emergent and topical in the stream; then they provide that to Reuters, which sees the value for news.
Jay: “That’s what I see: algorithmic tools that enable news providers to see what is of interest.” Then you take that information and provide high quality editorial work that is more responsive to what’s live now.”
Jeff: There are several layers to that system…
* “The world is talking about this story, we didn’t know it was happening, we better do something.”
* Here’s what people are saying about something we reported.
* “Here’s what interests them and here’s what doesn’t interest them.”
Jay: Another layer….
* “How to know what people need explained for them based on what they’re trying to do with the web in searching those stories and reacting to them.”
Dave: You guys just described the new news system.
Jeff: It’s similar to what Jay’s student Cody Brown just said. (See: A Public Can Talk To Itself.)
Dave: It’s reporter as discussion leader.
Who does the work and who gets paid?
The New York Times recently pointed out that Twitter is drawing innovative ideas from its users.
Jeff: “That still hasn’t happened in newspapers.”
On Twitter, Jay’s comment was: “Notice how no one says, ‘wait a minute, are these people *qualified* to be professional innovators?'”
Dave: But why am I on the side of the dividing line with the people who don’t get paid? “That’s another reason why there’s going to be a billion different Twitters, that problem.”
Relationships with the news industry
Dave’s question: “Do you think maybe you’ve spent too much time trying to convince these [professional news] people to jump out of the boat and get into the water with the rest of us?
Jay: “I go forward on two tracks.” Try to speak to people who are inventing the new, and I also engage the people who are still in that institution.
Jeff: “I had what I thought was the advantage of being the insider, and I fooled myself into thinking I could get more done.”
Dave: “I spent an hour on the phone last week with Jennifer Preston, so I haven’t given up, either.”
Site vs. stream
Jay: “The web is detaching itself from web ‘site’ and it’s becoming ‘stream.'”
Dave: “If that’s true, how do we get this thing to open up? It’s not good enough for me to be dumping stuff into Twitter space and then complaining later than they don’t own it. Because they do own it.”
Jay: Maybe it will take an user revolt like what happened at Digg in 2007.
Dave: Why didn’t the Suggested Users List trigger something like that? “The way Twitter is organized, it tends to dissipate those things.”
Jeff: “Things die out so quickly…. The half life of an idea on Twitter is about six minutes… That’s what we have to solve here.”
Dave: If Twitter was an open web-based system we could fix these things.
Jeff: “The blogosphere has the permanence that Twitter doesn’t have. It’s the old page web, the SEO web…. Use Twitter to feed something, if Twitter is the end in itself, we’re screwed. We’re putting things into this dispersed cloud that disappears.”
Re-booting J-School: the Studio model
Jay: We had a system in J-school that was build on the old platform: it had print majors, broadcast majors, and a “boot camp” model in which you train people in stable skills required for jobs in a monopolistic industry. But that system cannot hold. So in searching for another model I hit upon the image of a “studio” program, which is more common in arts education. In architecture or design or painting you take “studio” classes in which everyone has projects, including the instructor, and you critique each other’s projects. I decided to take that idea over into J-school. The result is a new masters-level program at NYU, called Studio 20, which is now open for business and accepting students.
The focus is on innovation in web journalism. Draw together 12-15 talented, entrepreneurial people with diverse skills who want to invent the future, constitute them as a team and seek projects in web development that help build the future of the news, not in the classroom but with industry partners who need this approach themselves. “Come to NYU work on really cool projects that reboot the news and we’ll give you a masters degree.”
Jeff: Jay and I are doing the same things from our different perspectives. At CUNY I teach a course in entrepreneurial journalism. I try to corrupt the students with capitalism because they have to see where they fit within this new ecosystem. “They tend to go to the reflex of the industry, it’s already in ‘em, and I’m always struggling with how to beat it out of them.”
Jay: “Now is the time to contact me if you want to study at Study 20 because we’re recruiting.”
reboot09Oct26.mp3 (audio/mpeg, 10.3MB)
Monday, October 26, 2009.