Online Journalism: Fall 2009


Just another weblog

Readings and links for 9-18-09

Be sure to post your reactions in the comments!!

How Real News Organizations fit into the online news model
The End of the Drudge Era?
Q&A with Clay Shirky on Twitter and Iran.

Diego Rodriguez’s “innovation principles” are indispensable. For this week, read the first two:
Experience the world instead of talking about experiencing the world
See and hear with the mind of a child

Plus–and this branches between Design Thinking & Online Journalism–a note from the creator of the Pulitzer-Winning Politifact about the design process: Demos, Not Memos


Filed under: Readings

13 Responses

  1. The first online journalism link is not working for me. Anyone else experience this?

    On the Daily Kos piece — I suppose I am of the ‘hardened holdouts and Twitter-haters’ Waldman speaks of, but I don’t exactly see its rise as something to be heralded reverently. The quick-breaking nature of it is due to the fact that it bypasses the editorial process, which means factual accuracy and news value are not assessed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great communications device, even a tool for journalists to use, but I thought journalism meant something else. Which is probably why I never read Drudge either, and have no idea which will win the popularity contest. Call me old fashioned, but I still believe journalism demands time, probably a little bit of money, and more than 140 characters.

  2. Q&A was interesting, Twitter certainly is a powerful tool for communications. I thought in the context of Iranian politics, Mousavi was a somewhat liberal reformer?

  3. principle one; excellent. principle two; vague and abstract.

  4. Annye says:

    Daily Kos piece:
    As a head’s up, I’ve never read the Drudge Report. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been to the site. Do I think twitter is taking over the journalistic process? No. Do I think it is a place to go for breaking news? Maybe. I was in Italy when Michael Jackson died and I found out he had died over Twitter. Now, what scares me is what if he hadn’t died? What if all it was, was a rumor? I think going to Twitter for breaking news is dangerous in that it could very well be false- there is no one moderating what people are saying, therefore I think what is said on Twitter should be taken with a grain of salt.

    TED Q&A:
    The part that I really liked about this was the CNN part about how people can’t instinctively go to CNN anymore for breaking world news. I appreciate that outlets such as Twitter allows us to sort of be our own content police and decide what we want to know. Traditionally we’ve been going to places like CNN to tell us the news that they think we should know. Now we each have the opportunity to go and read up on events that we want to read up on, and in an easier way. I don’t think CNN should be held responsible for this, because like Shirky said, CNN has to try and appeal to a broader audience.

  5. jeffbiertzer says:

    The End of the Drudge Era:
    Twitter is a place for fast headlines and no content, which is nice if that’s what you’re looking for. The only way twitter will fade out is when something better comes along. I’m cool with it.

  6. jeffbiertzer says:

    Q and A:
    Clay really likes twitter. I don’t feel the power of it like he does.

  7. jeffbiertzer says:

    I couldn’t get the link for the How…model story to work so I pasted it in google and read the top link. If this what I was suppose to read I liked it. It was well thought out and interesting. I would like to hear what he thinks at the end, instead of asking a question that no one knows the answer to.

  8. Laura Kozak says:

    Daily Kos:
    It’s already been said but I’ll reiterate it. Twitter is great for breaking news. You get the facts (usually) and that’s it. It’s where you’re going to hear it first. But it’s not where you’re going to go when you want to know more than can fit in 140 characters. Then you’ll go back the old faithful Drudge Report and major news outlets. Because you can (usually) trust the in-depth stories they’ll give you.

    Ted Blog:
    The Iranian Elections were very interesting for me because I didn’t have ready access to the web or Twitter when they were happening. I kept hearing about Twitter being the catalyst for so much in Iran but I couldn’t see it happen live. I was traveling in Europe for the summer so one of the only English television stations that we got on a regular basis was CNN International. And I will say the Iran elections were on all the time. And they were always talking about how influential Twitter was. We were also able to catch an English Al-Jazeera channel and they seemed to have the same coverage and new sources. Nothing was radically different.

  9. Laura Kozak says:

    I really liked the tone of the article but I wish there was more how to information than “You should do this.” I agree with the sentiment but think it wasn’t delivered as effectively as it could have been.

    Demo’s not memo’s are words to live by. It forces you to take a step further, sooner, and make an overall better product in the end. And anything that cuts down on the amount of meetings needed is a pretty good idea all around.

  10. msmith357 says:

    Daily Kos:
    Just like Annye, I have to admit that I’ve never read the Drudge report, and honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever visited the site. I am, however, on Twitter, and I love it. Twitter is not only a great place to get the news, but a cool way to follow your friends without feeling like a creep (unlike the feeling I get when I’m using Facebook). Do I think Twitter will eventually change the entire journalism landscape, however? No. I think Waldman’s point here is that right now Twitter is one of the best places to get breaking news, and it could really go places. In that sense, I have to agree. People just can’t logically get all their news under 140 characters, though. That’s why most tweets use tinyurl and tweet the links to their own stories and websites. Whether we like it or not, though, twitter is here to stay and it’s a tool all of us will be having to
    use in the future.

    P.S. Sidenote: Usually if the public thinks someone tweeting a wrong fact, you’ll start to see skepticism on the twitter, and that’s when most users will check other sources (it happend with the Michael Jackson story). There are so many users on Twitter that if something is a rumor, it’ll fix itself within the blink of an eye, so I don’t really think that’s an issue.

    TED Blog:
    The TED Blog brought up a lot of the same issues that the Daily Kos article did. I liked it, though, because Clay Shirky brought up a lot more issues with Twitter that people still seem to be working out, while the Daily Kos just seemed to romanticize the situation.

  11. Margaret Smith says:

    Both really good pieces of advice. The first one was obviously a bit more doable because the author actually gave examples, but with each principle is a good sentiment. I love it how optimistic and open all designers tend to be, but specifically the ones that work in journalism.

    Matt Waite/Politifact:
    Again, some really good advice that is executionable. And he’s right, meetings do suck.

    P.S. The previous post by msmith357 is me, too. I just forgot to switch to the correct username.

  12. Evan Minsker says:

    Yeah, the first link didn’t work for me, either.

    End of the Drudge Era – I totally agreed with this piece. Guys like Drudge have become obsolete in the world of Twitter, especially considering how quickly new information can trend and become apparent than it could on Drudge Report or anybody else’s blog. But will it go away anytime soon? Not at all. The people who read Drudge read it because it offers what they want to hear in the news. Maybe Twitter can provide a similar community for those readers, but Drudge has an enormous built-in audience. He may not be able to compete with Twitter’s immediacy, but he still is going to have huge numbers. After all, people who don’t like his politics normally just turn to another blog.

    Shirky Q&A – It isn’t often that someone can defend Twitter as a tool as opposed to a frivolous medium for teenagers to talk about sandwiches and drama. I think he made some excellent points about why it’s been so instrumental in huge events like what happened in Iran.

    Experience the world – Regardless of how you feel about the guy, John Kass once talked about bloggers and what separates the relevant ones from the losers. The people who sit around in their pajamas and ponder about roast beef? Losers. The people who go out and report and ask questions and experience their content first-hand? They’re legit. That’s what I got from this.

    Think like a child – Keeping an open mind? Thinking like you’re a kid again? Agreed.

    Demos, not memos – That was sort of my thought process with my blog. I heard about another blog that somebody was doing here at Columbia, I wrote up the idea for the blog in a reporter’s notebook, I called Tyler (my close friend/illustrator) as soon as I got out of the class I was in, and we launched it a week later. We didn’t meet for months pondering about how best to execute it. It was just go, and then we figured out what worked and what didn’t.

  13. Sean Stillmaker says:

    End of the Drudge Era – I wish this headline was true but unfortunately we have empowered bloggers too much that now their influence will not be relinquished. The article provides insight on a key tool of survival forthwith.

    Design Thinking – The articles under this category all have a common theme – just do it, I couldn’t agree more. Ideas and discussions are great, but at the end of the day the only thing that matters are results. We spend too much time debating rather than working. The result of action – Politifact wins a Pulitzer Prize.

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