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Cynthia Fernald's List: Journalism / New Media

  • 21 Oct 13

    "If ever an industry was in need of innovation — of big ideas from uncommon thinkers — it is the news business. "

    • “Both Jeff Bezos and Pierre Omidyar have a hacker’s ethos, a willingness to engage in lateral thinking to solve problems in a nonconventional way, to reject what has been taken for granted and MacGyver their way to solutions,” suggested Shane Snow, a founder of Contently, a marketplace for content creators.
    • For all their differences, the news and technology businesses share a kind of utopianism, an idealistic belief that the work of human hands can make life better for other humans.
    • Epic, a kind of online literary platform that will commission and publish big, nonfiction narratives that might also make good movies.
    • They are trying to build a model for long-form journalism where the revenue generated over the entire life of a story — magazine fees, sales on and Amazon Kindle Singles, ancillary film and television rights — can be used to finance the costs of reporting.
    • it could begin to change the way business is done and authors are treated.

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    • both educators and journalists question the rate at which education is keeping up with industry changes
    • Working journalists feel the demand for new multimedia skills that may or may not be part of traditional journalism coursework, he said, leading them to question the value of degrees in the discipline.
    • Women are significantly under-represented in 2012 election coverage in major media outlets. In our analysis of news stories and transcripts from the past 6 months, men are much more likely to be quoted on their subjective insight in newspapers and on television. This pattern holds true across all major news outlets, as well as on issues specifically concerning women. For example, in front page articles about the 2012 election that mention abortion or birth control, men are 4 to 7 times more likely to be cited than women. This gender gap undermines the media's credibility.
    • Content has a price tag, which is reassuring, but the old dividing lines between television, radio, Web and print disappear within the four corners of a tablet. That means, for instance, that CNBC and The Wall Street Journal are not in different businesses anymore, and in fact The Journal is adding hours of live video with each passing month.
    • That gaming device your children are playing with? That too is a network in the making. Traditional networks and cable providers have the content, but if they hold on too tight, they will miss out on vast new avenues of distribution and revenue.
    • With fewer reporters available to tackle in-depth topics, news releases from politicians and policy makers end up having more influence in some cases, he said, contributing to a kind of power shift toward institutions and away from citizens.
    • “The independent watchdog function that the Founding Fathers envisioned for journalism — going so far as to call it crucial to a healthy democracy — is in some cases at risk at the local level.”
    • Coverage of state governments and municipalities has receded at such an alarming pace that it has left government with more power than ever to set the agenda and have assertions unchallenged
    • All that innovation is happening on top of Twitter and Facebook, not on top of RSS
    • Tracking and filtering. You really must watch the video on DataSift. DataSift is going to make RSS very much less relevant as we’re able to build new filtering systems.
    • What is dying is our RSS reading behavior. Over and over people tell me they are using RSS readers less and less and that they are using Facebook and Twitter more and more.

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  • 15 Sep 10

    "Brave New Films has mastered every element of alternative distribution, from YouTube, to Facebook to Twitter, creating a new model for activist political video."

    • A video forwarded to you from a friend on Facebook is way, way more full of impact than a TV commercial you can mute, or run out of the room, or TiVo and fast forward.
    • The biggest message from Greenwald's success is, screw the gatekeepers. Brave New Films doesn't need to work through those in control of the networks, cable, satellite, and movie studios, to reach large audiences with high-quality material with a message, and to motivate them.
    • Similar explosions in innovation have happened in music, photography and animation, to name but three. But what these fields have in common is that people's work output could be easily shared digitally.
    • innovation doesn't usually come from lone geniuses and their eureka moments. It emerges when groups of people spark off each other. One of the most significant aspects of the web is that it has brought together vastly larger groups than ever before in history, and thereby sparked massive new types of innovation. For example the open source movement would not really have been possible before the web brought programmers together.
    • the rise of online video could turn out to be as significant as the invention of print.
  • 06 Jul 10

    “A bad free press is preferable to a technically good subservient press" - Nelson Mandela

    • “A bad free press is preferable to a technically good subservient press."
    • America's establishment press has never been technically better, but never more pathetically subservient. My hopes increasingly ride on an often bad free press that is getting better all the time.
    • Never have we needed truly independent journalism institutions -- which despite great progress in the developement of online media still convey most of what we call "news" to most of the people -- more than we do now.


      The honorable exceptions aside, they are failing. And they're failing arrogantly, insisting that they are doing their jobs well when the evidence is so obviously to the contrary.

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  • 20 Mar 10

    "The Internet and cell phones are changing people’s relationship to news .... It is making news more portable, perpetual, personalized and participatory."

    • Overall, 26% of all Americans say they get some form of news today via cellphone, which amounts to 33% of cell phone owners. There is every reason to think this number will rise
    • For all of the growth in Twitter in 2009, it has yet to be a common source for news.
    • Online news users tend to be employed full-time (50%), two-thirds (67%) have at least some college education (including 22% with a bachelor’s degree and 15% with advanced degrees), and their annual household income trends higher than American adults in general.  Racially, this group skews toward Hispanics and whites

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    • the most common attributes editors' tell her they are looking for are those individuals who are "adaptable to change, able to learn on the fly, have technical savvy, and know the value of teamwork and collaboration.''
    • Many of these offerings, moreover, are free. And during the coming year, Poynter will begin offering entrepreneurial courses for journalists and citizens interested in creating their own start-ups.
    • there are plenty of resources available online, offering video tutorials, webinars, and career tips to those out of work newspaper employees' trying to acquire new skills and become more marketable.

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    • we have to be wary of crossing platforms too much. Great telly isn't made by throwing great web stuff on it. We have to be aware of the strengths of each platform.
    • Twitter isn't the only social media tool used by Sky journalists, but its versatility from mobile reporting to powering liveblogging, such as this week's information blog on the heavy snowfall in the UK, make it a must for the team,
    • "The big change for us in 2010 is evolving how social media plays a role in our journalism. We no longer ghettoise it to one person, but are in the process of embedding throughout the whole team,"

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  • 29 Aug 09

    J-Schools: missing the boat.

    "...journalism schools too face a crisis of competence and confidence. We have to agree that while much remains that is good, some of what we do is outmoded and badly needs to be fixed. To survive, journalism schools have to become much more intellectually and professionally ambitious."

    • journalism schools are not adequately engaged with the great public debates over the future of their core sector. 
    • Yet arguably, the performance of journalism schools has something to do with the current sub-par performance of the profession. And the performance of journalists working in independent, high quality media has a lot to do with the fate of our American democracy.
    • I find it curious that there hasn't been greater attention to the performance of the nation's leading journalism schools in the midst of the media meltdown occurring all around us every day.

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    • I don't use the word "media." I don't use the word "news." I don't think that those words mean anything anymore. They defined publishing in the 20th century. Today, they are a barrier. They are standing in our way, like a horseless carriage.




    • More and more people are choosing social filters for their news rather than professional filters. We're tuning out television news, we're tuning out newspapers. And we still hear about the important stuff, it's just that it's not like this drumbeat of bad news. It's news that matters. I figure by the time something gets to me it's been vetted by those I trust. So the stupid stuff that doesn't matter is not going to get to me.
    • It's going to take us a decade or two to figure out what it is we're doing.

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