Rebooting the News #58

In Podcast on July 12, 2010 by Jay Rosen

Several items from the last week are classic Rebooting the News topics and had to be be dealt with.

1. As Dave wrote at Scripting News, “This morning there’s news of an end-user app development tool from Google.”

‘I’m from Missouri when it comes to these things,” Dave wrote. “This idea of a once-and-for-all development tool is like the Divining Rod of the Olde Days. Perpetual Motion. The goose that laid the golden egg. The fountain of youth. Shangri-la. Bigfoot. The Loch Ness Monster. Cold fusion. The Singularity!”

Jay: I’m for Missouri too. Has anyone who counts actually said that this is a once-and-for-all development tool that will mean we can say goodbye to programmers? I’m skeptical.

Dave comments: You added the “goodbye to programmers part.”

Jay: Did I? As I read your post, you think this new development tool from Google will wind up like something called The Last One, which (you told us) “purported to be a development tool so easy an end-user could create their own applications. Goodbye programmers, they said.” You are clearly warning us not to believe it this time around, which raises the question: who said “goodbye programmers!” this time around? Anyone?

Dave: The second paragraph in this Fortune article will do. “Businesses, large and small can now easily create apps for their employees’ Android devices without hiring costly developers.”

Jay on Twitter: Maybe “open” and “gated” (as with Apple vs. Android, Murdoch vs. the Guardian) will go forward together, each compensating for defects in the other and neither wins.

2. Science Blogs–a lively community scientists who blog, and science writers–almost self-destructed when the management decided to give PepsiCo scientists a blog that looked and felt just like the others. A writers’ revolt put a stop to that, and the Pepsi blog was removed, but the damage may be too much to overcome.

3. A fire in the East Village last week–noticed by Dave right away–provides an opportunity to glimpse the rebooted system of news at work.

4. A Harvard Kennedy School (pdf) study showing that the national press called waterboarding “torture” until the U.S. started engaging in the practice led Bill Keller of the New York Times to defend his newsroom’s handling of the question in a strange way: by calling “torture” the politically correct word for torture.

5. WordPress and the podcast showing up as a podcast problem: a brief report from Dave on a bug that has affected Rebooting the News.

Here’s the show; we hope you like it.

4 Responses to “Rebooting the News #58”

  1. re: end-user app development tool
    I have been in IT for many years. The COBOL manual I had in 1968 described COBOL as a language that secretaries could use to generate systems and that programmers would soon be obsolete.

  2. I recall hearing Dave advocate that the New York Times should allow sponsored blogs. So is the concern about the PepsiCo blog on Science Blogs that their sponsorship would not have been transparent – meaning obvious at first glance to the casual visitor?

  3. After Jay defined “citizen journalism,” I thought a more appropriate term might be “peer-to-peer journalism.”

  4. No episode this week? I’m suffering withdrawals.

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