Journalism Models and the Future
As media makers navigate this new media environment, they are developing and implementing creative new strategies to produce high-quality and high-impact journalism. What are these cutting edge opportunities and what do TMC members need to know about them? How can these strategies be used for audience expansion and engagement? What are examples of success and lessons learned? In this session, we’ll look at two main models: editorial collaboration and interactive journalism production. Moderator: Ann Friedman, The American Prospect
- Monika Bauerlein, Mother Jones and Jason Barnett, The Uptake (Cop15 collaboration)
- Aron Pilhofer, Interactive Web Editor, New York Times
COP15 Collaboration: Successes and Lessons Learned
The changing media landscape is reflected not just in business models, but in editorial strategies as well. Collaboration has become a desired mode of operation for many outlets.
Jason and Monika shared the importance of how to pool some of the work that journalists do for their organizations – this past year (as a result of TMC) people were open to collaborating. COP15 was easy to pull together because it was time limited and event-bound.
- The COP15 group used Publish 2 tool so that any time a reporter filed an article and put the article into a newsgroup that all members were a part of, they were able to export content according to the organization and then the widget appeared on everyone’s site.
- The group worked with people that were interviewing sources to spread out the contact list as wide as possible. They shared interviews and spread the net wide and make sure they got video and tech stories out through a multimedia platform.
- One of the issues facing collaboration and media in general is where does advocacy end and journalism begin?
- Jason would like to spend more time developing communications strategies beyond just passing of contact information and sharing of technologies.
Aron Pilhofer: Interactive Web Journalism
Aron works with a team of 10 journalist/technologists in the creation of interactive news technologies. They are a news desk using data-driven applications or “web development at newsroom speed.” They’re focused on journalism, not just news products.
There is a “data vomit” approach which lacks context and lacks a nut graf. Throwing data online is what machines do, not what journalists do. Everything that his team produces still works off of the basic journalistic tenets of: Who, what, why, when & where.
Aron provided different lessons learned/successes to publishing data online in a compelling, interactive way:
- Tell a story and provide context.
- Immediate search capability but also gives you a place to browse.
- Provides top-level numbers w/some charts and graphs, and a lead.
- And all of these features are shown in a one-page view for the reader.
- Good interactives should be steeped in data analysis. They should provide context to your reporting. The NYT has built numerous API’s, which are mostly available open source, and they will be open sourcing their program that helps you document and annotate your information soon.
- Data should be useful but not ubiquitous. Many interactives have a minimalist feel, but you’d never know it. The program should invite exploration and discovery.
- What you do should be portable across platforms and potentially devices.
- They should be useful intuitive and productive. We all need to think like a start-up. Bring known journalism forms to the web.
- Start asking why. What is the story? Think broadly about what constitutes data.
Virtually every project that Aron pointed out was created by small teams of one or 2 people. Part of this process involves developing the right tools. Django is popular, can work great and scales up for large traffic.
Folks might need to shift perceptions of what tech people are and blurring more with journalism and expect more from tech people. Reframing ideas with tools that will provide context, pairing people together and be willing to spend money on people to do that.