Rebooting the News #68

In Podcast on October 20, 2010 by Jay Rosen

Dave and I are taking our show to DC where we will do it live for the Online News Association, which is by far the biggest gathering of people who are trying to reboot the news from within, as it were.

So what should we do there? What do we need to be telling them? What do they need to hear? What do they need to be telling us? What do we need to hear from ONA?

Dave joined in the discussion during Jay’s graduate course in “the ethic of the web.” The assignment was to study eight speeches by news executives trying to come to grips with a rebooted system of news.

Dave’s post this week: The enemy of progress is complexity. Worth discussing!

Request from a listener Anna Tarkov: the Washington Post tells its staff not to engage with critics on Twitter, but also says Twitter is for users to engage with the Washington Post. Techdirt explains what’s screwy about this.

Martin Neisenholtz, head of the digital side of the New York Times, said last night: Thirteen different teams had to work together in order to construct the New York Times’ iPad app. Dave offers his review of the app.

Come on: 1300 journalists covering one story? That’s absurd. Jay expands on his critique.

4 Responses to “Rebooting the News #68”

  1. Thanks for taking my topic request you guys!

    Dave, you blew my mind when you talked about thinking far enough into the future to, essentially, imagine a new role for journalists. When you started out talking about all that, I admit I thought it was crazy. Like Jay, I was thinking no, no, no, there’s NO WAY someone will do complex, labor-intensive investigative work for free. But maybe if we could get to a point where that sort of work won’t actually BE work… now that would really be something.

    Maybe the Gov 2.0 movement is a step towards that? After all, if public records and all sorts of governmental information was easily accessible and at everyone’s fingertips, maybe we would need reporters less. But then there are A LOT of other things that have to happen for that to work smoothly. Everyone has to have broadband, everyone has to know where to go online, etc.

    And the larger issue, the one I don’t know how to address, is the issue of the immense complexity of our world. As you and Jay talked about, the more complex it is, the more even well-educated citizens can be confused and not know what’s going on, to say nothing of those who are NOT well-educated.

  2. I think you should talk about one speed up and down; it’s a great metaphor. And tie it to the futility and expense of sending all those journos to Chile. It’s connected, obviously. The one MSM outlet that does get it partially is CNN, with its iReports. However, it only uses them in cases of natural disasters.

  3. Some ideas for the gathered at ONA:

    Walls will kill you. There is always someone willing to leap into that vacuum. 
    Paid content? First, make content people want to pay for.
    Link out. You’re still not doing this enough. 
    When a reader complains, ask yourself, “What if they’re right?”
    Put less on your home page, not more. 

    Just remember, ONA members are the people who are probably already listening to your podcast and nodding their heads in agreement. These are the people that have been fighting the good fight inside of the news industry for years. Don’t expect hostility or confusion. Expect a good conversation.

  4. Hi Dave and Jay,

    For what it’s worth, the NY Times iPad app *does* download the articles for offline viewing.

    But: It doesn’t do so in the background (but perhaps this will change with iOS 4.2 on the iPad?); and that only applies to the text, not pictures or video, I think.

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