We have some news, people. Dave Winer will be named a Visiting Scholar at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute for 2010. He will assist the Studio 20 program, which I direct, as Technical Adviser. During the academic year Dave will also curate a speakers series at NYU on the intersection of technology and journalism, which of course is the running theme of our Rebooting the News podcast.
We’ve been collaborating on this show since March 2009. Because Dave is also moving to New York City–actually, he will split his time between Gotham and the Bay Area–we hope to do the podcast in a real live radio studio at 20 Cooper Square, headquarters for the Journalism Institute at NYU. That should improve the sound quality, and we can have guests join us in person. (The ‘cast has been on break; it will start again Jan. 25.)
For me and the students of Studio 20 this is a major “get,” as the bookers for TV shows like to say. Our focus is on innovation in the news system and adapting journalism to the web. As a software developer and one of the proto-bloggers, Dave Winer has been an innovator from the moment his career began in the 1980s. As a co-founder of blogging, RSS and podcasting he is directly responsible for some of the disruptions that are shifting power to the users. This is a change that journalists need to recognize and adapt to without complaint.
I first met him in 2003 when he was a fellow at the Berkman Center at Harvard University’s Law School, where one of his agenda items was to get Harvard excited about blogging. (It worked.)
But nothing expresses the reason I wanted him at Studio 20 better than the long bet he made with Martin Nisenholtz, CEO of the New York Times Digital operations, in 2002. This was the bet: “In a Google search of five keywords or phrases representing the top five news stories of 2007, weblogs will rank higher than the New York Times’ Web site.” They each put up $2,000. Winer won. He gave the cash to the World Wide Web Consortium. In other words, to the open web, the platform on which we both do most of our work.
I’m betting that he can help us synthesize a new approach to doing J-school, post-disruption. As technical adviser and visiting scholar (discipline: empower the users!) Dave will be sitting in on classes from time to time. He will be available to students as they tackle their own projects. Occasionally he will be hanging out at 20 Cooper Square with his laptop. You know… visiting.
And so it is with great pleasure that I say… Dave Winer: welcome to NYU, and point you to his own post explaining why he wanted to join us.