As the official Snarkmarket liveblogger, I’m always on the lookout for good stuff to liveblog. This morning’s event is the intro panel for the Online News Association conference in DC.
Psst. Matt is running a secret course on web media awesomeness over at NPR’s Argo Project. It feels kinda like a college class you’re not allowed to take yet because you’re only a sophomore and you don’t have the prereqs… but you sneak in and sit in the back row and take notes anyway, because this is why you came to college in the first place, to take classes like this! And the prof is so great!
NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute is seeking the top ten works of journalism from the last decade. To seed their quest, they’ve selected more than 80 journalistic enterprises. I’ve tried to retain a detached cynicism, but I actually really, really, really like the list they’ve put together so far. It includes several of my favorites — James Fallows’ Blind into Baghdad, This American Life’s Giant Pool of Money, David Barstow’s Pentagon propaganda investigation, Atul Gawande’s look at the high cost of health care in McAllen, TX, and even Ezra Klein’s blog!
Bonus points for including the Daily Show.
“Does journalism exist?”
As I made my way through the text—it’s quite long—I kept selecting a section to blockquote… and then finding an even better one three grafs down. Forget it; just read the whole thing.
I’m not sure that it’s exactly the dictionary definition of magisterial, but I use the word to mean comprehensive, authoritative, and fluent. That last one is important; I don’t think you can be magisterial without using language really, really well.
Rusbridger’s speech is magisterial.
If somebody was brand-new to journalism, or brand-new to planet earth, I’d hand them a printout of this speech, and I’d be pretty confident that they would emerge ready to participate in what’s next. It’s a wonderful, balanced, meaty piece of work.
As you’d imagine, there’s a lot of “broadband yes, toilet no” happening in Haiti right now. Here’s an example from Haiti Rewired, a new site and community convened (seemingly in moments?) by the Wired.com staff. And it’s not just about reporting the news:
We believe that better answers to the difficult questions could be created through the collaboration of technologists, researchers, geographers, infrastructure specialists, aid groups and others. Our writers and editors can aggregate information, report new stories and add to the discussion, but the focus of this effort is squarely on the thoughts, plans and actions of our contributors.
One of the most riveting things I’ve read yet out of Haiti is photojournalist Damon Winter interviewed for the NYT’s Lens blog via cell phone. Near the end—
Is there anything [else] that you want to tell Lens readers?
There was one thing that didn’t really make pictures. It was my first night here last night. We were staying at a hotel on the edge of a pretty heavily damaged neighborhood and at night, you could hear people singing.
People are out on the street at night. It’s really hard to photograph because there’s no electricity. It’s pitch black. But all night you could hear them singing prayers. It’s pretty amazing the ways that people are dealing with this tragedy. It says a lot about the Haitian character. They are an amazing people.
As the night went on, we had earthquakes. We had a small tremor. Then, in the middle of the night, there was a really big tremor. At that point, most people had gone to sleep. It was pretty quiet out. I was lying in my bed. I couldn’t really sleep. It was so eerie because that silence was broken by screams. You could just feel it. Everyone was so scared, probably just thinking back to what had happened and reliving that moment.
You see people out on the street because they’re scared to go back into their houses at night. They’re really taking solace in each other and the company of their families and friends. It’s pretty amazing to have the strength and energy to be out singing.
The whole conversation—and, of course, Winter’s images.
Matt’s take on Google Living Stories:
The lack of sizzle is evident in Howie Kurtz’s story about the project. He calls it “a new online tool that, well, isn’t exactly going to revolutionize journalism.” I think NYT digital CEO Martin Nisenholtz gets it about right in the Times story about the initiative: “In it,” he says, “you can see the germ of something quite interesting.”
I don’t think the fact that it’s still only a “germ” at this point diminishes the thought or work that’s gone into these efforts. We really haven’t built anything quite like this before. Inventing the future takes time! And I suspect the first time many people laid eyes on Wikipedia, their reaction was much the same: Some fancy encyclopedia you got here. Um, there’s a typo on the “List of Goonies characters” page.
It’s the year 2015. The compact device in my hand delivers me the world, one news story at a time. I flip through my favorite papers and magazines, the images as crisp as in print, without a maddening wait for each page to load.
Even better, the device knows who I am, what I like, and what I have already read. So while I get all the news and comment, I also see stories tailored for my interests.
Two things: first, I just rewatched EPIC 2015 the other day and it’s still fun (and Matt’s narration is still, well, epic); second, the relative tameness of this vision means there are still big opportunities for other players to reinvent news—to participate in that reinvention. This is not gonna be Google’s game.
There is one thing worth noting in this op-ed. You’ll notice Schmidt hits the “magazine-like” metaphor several times. This is an idea you’re hearing a lot from GOOG lately. To paraphrase: You don’t have to wait for the pages of a magazine to load, right? Well, the web should be like that. When you click a link, or swipe your screen, the next page should simply be there.
Now, this vision of a zero–load-time web is actually pretty interesting. But is it truly transformational—the way, say, always-on broadband was transformational? I don’t know. What do you think?