Rebooting the News #39

In Podcast on February 1, 2010 by Jay Rosen

We led off with–come on, what else could we lead off with?–the iPad’s debut. Dave’s: “It’s a big iPhone.” And a closed platform, “pure Apple.” The duality has always been Jobs vs. Woz. The artist vs. the tinkerer.

Jay: “It’s sort of an attack on gatelessness.” And as I said on Twitter, “There’s one thing–and only one–I find interesting about the iPad so far: that it shifts back to ‘read only’ from the read write web.” Also see this compendium of similar reactions.

We sorted through Obama’s appearance before House Republicans as an instance of “the sources go direct.” Dave said he agreed with David Weinberger’s assessment. “More bad news for the media, ” said Weinberger, “The Republicans are better at questioning the President than you are.”

The striking thing about the announcement that Candy Crowley would get her own Sunday show was that no one even bothered to ask her if she had any ideas for reviving this almost brain dead form.

We went through Mark Coddington’s post, A quick guide to the Maxims of new media. Many of these maxims have been discussed in this podcast. Dave said he had a problem with “if the news is important it will find me.” We both had a problem with the way “information wants to be free” is deployed (ideologically.) Dave said he had a problem with “readers more than we do,” but also said he had to work out the reasons why. He’ll get back to us! Jay said that Winer’s maxim, “people come back to places that send them away” should be on the list. Dave added, “only steal from the best.”

We moved on to a fascinating story: AOL Tries To Seed SXSW With Coverage Of 2,000 Bands, via its new assignment desk system. (Link.) We both agreed that it was a brilliant experiment and highly relevant to the rebooted system of news, in part because it asks, “what would 100 percent coverage look like?” and actually tries to create it. It’s almost like the beginning of a wikipedia system for the indy music scene.

Dave: “It doesn’t stop when the event is over; in a way this becomes a coral reef for a rebooted music news system.” Jay: Studio 20 wants to create such a tool, so we’re looking for models and prototypes that might get us there. The key part is that when you select an assignment you get a set of instructions for doing a good piece, in addition to a task to complete.

Here’s the show; we hope you like it and that you may even be moved to comment on it.

8 Responses to “Rebooting the News #39”

  1. Well, shoot. I posted a comment on the glitchy post, so I guess I’ll repost it here.

    Thanks for the mention, Jay and Dave. I think “People come back to places that send them away” will go into my next edit, along with Clay Shirky’s “Nothing will work, but everything might.” (Although, at this rate, I might have to change the title to “A quick guide to the maxims of Jarvis, Rosen, Shirky and Winer.”)

    On the iPad discussion, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Shirky’s observation that one of the fundamental shifts that characterized the rise of our web-oriented culture was the fact that the same devices that we use to consume media now also give us the power to create that media. (I remember Shirky saying it’s as if owning a television set also gave you the power to make TV shows, or subscribing to the newspaper also gave you the ability to produce one.)

    That’s where the iPad feels so regressive to me: With the iPad, we’re stepping backwards across that line, as our consumption devices are once again distinct from our creation devices. It’s another way of explaining, as both of you said, why old media folks like it: It reintroduces a split between the tools of production and consumption that had all but disappeared in the world of the web.

  2. I’m curious, what’s the deal with the 45 minute hard limit? There are times you guys are on a roll and seem as if you’d like to go on for a few more minutes. And I’m with you — I want to hear what you’d say in those extra minutes. But you can’t because the 45 minute limit is approaching. Then there are times like today where you’re basically done but vamp to fill the remaining time.

    I can’t imagine this is a technical limitation, but maybe it is. If it’s something you guys are imposing on yourselves, do you mind sharing the reasoning? I, for one, have no problem with a podcast that’s “about 45 minutes” instead of exactly 45.

  3. Brad: We could go longer and occasionally do. The main reason we end at 45 is there are live listeners on Blog Talk Radio who do get cut off. The other reason is that we like having some form or format to what is a pretty freewheeling show. But that said… you are probably right.

  4. Do you have a link of the podcast to suscribe in itunes?

  5. I was interested to hear your comments about “Question Time” here in the UK. I’m a US citizen living in London, and there is no question that the relationship between the press and the politicians is quite different.

    “Question Time” can indeed be formulaic, although there are similar exchanges between members of the parties on most days in the Parliamentary system. One of the upshots of this, as you suggest, Jay, is that there is not quite so much reliance on the equivalent of the “White House press briefing”.

    One very interesting upshot of this is the much more combative relationship between the press and politicians, specifically on the BBC4 morning radio show “Today” and the nighttime television show “Newsnight”. A typical interchange features the news presenter asking a question, the politician refusing to answer it explicitly, the presenter asking again, the politician trying to spin it a slightly different way, repeated several or many times. One particularly infamous example is . This can be entertaining but occasionally goes overboard (as when the same technique is applied to civilians rather than deserving politians).

  6. My previous post seems to have swallowed my YouTube link!

  7. I love your show.

    On the iPad, I’m not sure I agree with Dave that Google’s own “pad” will be out anytime soon. I think we’ll see a lot of Android tablets produced by Taiwanese entrepreneurs which will have various levels of user interface sophistication that will start out crude and gradually catch up with where Apple is today in a few years.

    As an education tech person, I’m thinking that gateless tablets might be extremely compelling as read-write devices in schools if the price were low enough.

    Minor request: Can Dave get a better mic or connection? Jay (probably in his multi-gillion-dollar NYU media lab) sounds terrific, but Dave’s voice is sometimes hard to hear without the high-end of a good mic.

  8. It’s important not to confuse the sort-of closed iPad (we don’t know what new things apps will be allowed to do, since there are certainly new capabilities like access to something vaguely like a filesystem for sharing files) and the read-write web, which will certainly be accessible, and even likely via front ends as true iPad apps. Unfortunately, the iPad itself won’t be hackable, but the web still will be… It will be interesting to see if anyone writes (and apple allows) any true web-development apps.

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