Anthony Moor

Exploring Media in Transformation | Transforming in Media Exploration

/ˌtrænsfərˈmeɪʃən/ n. 1: a process of change from one form to another.

Filtering by Category: Culture Change

Newsroom culture wars and the Web

The print-Webgenerational divide turned ugly recently following a post by an intern supporting the Tampa Tribune's editor. I noted it here.

Now Jay Rosen of pressthink tries to psychoanalyze the full-throated anger and animosity that's roiling in our industry.

We’re in pain and looking for a place to direct our anger [one commenter says]. Some chose to beam that rage at the young woman who identifies with the female boss. She’s not one of us, not really “of” the newsroom. She’s cheering one of them: the executives who screwed up our thing. Them: the know-nothing, misspelling bloggers. Them: our unpaid or lowly paid replacements. Them: generaton whoop-dee-Net. She’s one of them. Her post proves it!

This is boundary policing, in which deviant behavior is denounced and community bonds are renewed in a casting out motion. You can hear worse than casting out in comments like this. It’s almost newspaper revanchism, an irrational demand to restore the Kingdom of Print, and the suggestion of a monstrous, industry-wide lie preventing that restoration.

Hyperlocal: It's not about the articles

Steve Outing crystallizes the gap in understanding that we have as a newspaper covering a local events, which is article driven, vs. the way in which the Web needs to 'cover' a locality. Here's his post: Finally: the answer to hyper-local coverage. In short, it's not about the articles:

Local newspapers need to figure out how to find the data and information like train delays and dog-park news, then deliver it to the people who care about it. That is the “hyper-local news” that will allow newspapers to renew themselves as important in people’s lives.

This isn't a revelation, but it is a change in mindset that means we can't assume that taking what we do for the zoned sections of the paper, or asking users to submit 'their news' can substitute for a truly unique online experience.

Be sure to click the link above to see Steve's recommendations for what to do.

Pitts says: Go to the Web!

Leonard Pitts has a call to arms for newspapers today in the Miami Herald. But it isn't about saving the paper, it's about moving to the Web.

I submit that our primary mission is to report and comment upon the news and that it is the newspaper itself that has become ancillary. So maybe we should regard the Internet not as an extra thing we do, but as the core thing we do. Maybe we should maximize the fact that we know our cities as no one else does. Maybe we should make our Websites not simply online recreations of our papers, but entities in their own right....

I haven't been on Romanesko yet, so maybe it's there, but if you haven't seen it, click through.

(Thanks, Michael Landauer)

The press becomes the press-sphere

I'm on a Buzzmachine kick today.  Jeff Jarvis does a very interesting job in The press becomes the press-sphere of showing, visually,  how we're not at the center of the news anymore, nor is our work product (stories).  Click the link to see the diagrams. 

Some of the very powerful take aways:

  • The separation of content from presentation on web pages means that design, navigation, brand, and medium can change and are not necessarily controlled by an editor’s design.
  • Feeds also have an impact on — and can reduce the value of — packaging and prioritization (also known as editing).
  • Live reports from witnesses also reduce the opportunity to package and edit.
  • The ecology of links motivates us to do what we do best and link to the rest. It fosters collaboration. It changes the essential structure of a story (background or source material can be a link away).
  • Links also turn our readers into our distributors.
  • Links turn our readers into editors.
  • Aggregation, curation, and peer links become our new newsstand.
  • Search and SEO motivate us to create repositories of expertise (topic pages) and make news stories more permanent.
  • Search reduces the power of the brand.
  • We see ourselves not as owners of content or distribution but as members of networks.
  •  These networks can be about content, trust, interest, or advertising relationships or all of the above.

Ted's ten point plan to reinvent the newspaper business

Don't know if you saw this from former AOL exec Ted Leonsis, courtesy of Romanesko: My Ten Point Plan to Reinvent The Newspaper Business. Provocative, to say the least. For instance:

Get rid of senior editors. Turn them into algorithmic managers. Editors are passé. What is needed is a team of people that know how to work and create blog rolls and how to get the content up high into the algorithms so that when a consumer searches the newspaper's content it comes up high in the rankings. Knowing statistically what content gets the best click through across all media is a key deliverable... and having managers that understand the big algorithms in the sky will redefine journalism for our next generation and redefine circulation into syndication.

I think we need both.  In fact we've been trying to figure out how to create an audience manager or traffic manager -- someone who can devote attention to distributing our content better through more effective search engine optimization, and better 'platform targeting,' that is, sending text alerts or seeding links on blogs etc.

Jeff Jarvis is at an NYC media summit, where he reports on what some of the bigwigs of oldline media are saying about change.

They acknowledge that there is a "discussion happening in newsrooms across the country: minimizing commodity effort and maximizing unique reporting value."

Hyperlocal database journalism

I've already mentioned the debut of Everyblock, the latest effort by Web data guru Adrian Holovaty. Now he's fleshed out some of the work behind the scenes that led to the site's recent launch, in an interview at OJR.

Adrian explains it clearly took some work in the community and on the computer.  And he offers his reasons why we newspaper.commers haven't equaled his efforts.

Holovaty: Unfortunately, there's a lot. In the general case (and "general" means this excludes the newspapers out there who are doing great things online) --

  • A lack of technical competence
  • A culture so obsessed with daily deadlines that little thought/resources are put into paradigm changes
  • A culture that disdains technology and science, particularly math, and, worse, actually takes pride in that
  • Red tape
  • Legacy systems
  • Legacy attitudes
  • People who ask "Is this journalism?" ;-)