Links for the weekend | Links para o fim de semana


Twitter, the micro-messaging service where users broadcast short thoughts to one another, has been widely labeled the newest form of digital narcissism. And if it’s not self-obsession tweeters are accused of, it’s self-promotion, solipsism or flat out frivolousness.

But naysayers will soon eat their tweets. There’s already a vibrant community of Twitter users who are using the system to share and filter the hyper-glut of online information with ingenious efficiency. Forget what you had for breakfast or how much you hate Mondays. That’s just lifecasting.

Mindcasting is where it’s at.

Bottom-line: This isn’t the way the Internet works.

In the short term, a lot of investigative journalism will disappear. However, I believe a new style will emerge over time that leverages increased public access to government documents and the work of individual “whistle blowers”  to fulfill many of the same objectives of investigative journalism. New-journalism organizations like Talking Points Memo actually recruit their readers to assist in the reporting process by scouring public documents and fact-checking information. In a world in which everyone is a publisher, some new models of investigative journalism will emerge that harness the work of individual citizens.

All points that will be hotly debated regardless of my view.  But there are two other aspects of this debate that frustrate me.

The first is a personal tick of mine. When I read…

“The future of printed newspapers is looking grim as there is an evident shift towards digital journalism.”

…I bristle.

For me digital journalism is not seperate from newspaper journalism.  For me digital journalism is using digital skills to develop stories and content for any platform.  Not a medium in itself. But that’s just me.

The other is the idea that students should read newspapers to get the news. Forgetting the debate about the amount of news in newspapers, that misses the big, elephant in the room sized, point. Journalism students should read newspapers because they are students of journalism.

Descargar portada de Periodismo integrado: convergencia de medios y reorganización de redacciones. Libro por Ramón Salaverría y Samuel Negredo

Can media organizations leverage the social web to get story tips faster than they could through traditional methods? A number of news aggregators believe so and are looking to Twitter for tips.

Six weeks ago popular tech news aggregator Techmeme began accepting story tips submitted on Twitter. Today PopURLs, an older and more diverse aggregator, began doing the same thing. This is probably just the beginning; so many journalists are on Twitter that it only makes sense that people will systematize the harvesting of news tips. The early experiment at Techmeme indicates though that the long tail of Twitter tips may not be so long after all. A handful of Twitter users are dominating the system.

How will other newspapers react to The Guardian offering a million articles to developers for free as part of its Open Platform?

If their website terms & conditions are anything to go by, they have a long way to go to embrace the internet.

It’s fairly standard for any publication to forbid people from copying its material. But some papers have gone so far with their site T&Cs that you’re not allowed to link to – or even read – their websites. The quotes below are all from the sites’ T&Cs (and all seem to conflict with their ’share’ buttons, such as the one enabling the Times to top the StumbleUpon league).

Journalists are sometimes their own worst enemies, and this is one such time. Through overly pessimistic outlooks and sweeping generalization, they may be hastening the obituaries of some weak papers by making readers and advertisers think their serve no purpose today.

Discussion of the newspaper industry’s situation is confused because many observers do not separate its short-term problems with the economy from the challenges of long-term trends. Then they compound that problem by using papers as examples of industry developments that are unrepresentative because of their market situations and managerial errors.

“Paper is dying, but it’s just a device,” Bilton told Wired.com ahead of his talk Tuesday at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology conference in San Jose, California. “Replacing it with pixels is a better experience.”

Bilton, a youthful technologist who programs mashups in his free time, is charged with inventing the future for the Gray Lady in an era of troubled times for newspapers. Fewer people are subscribing, classified ads are decamping for the internet and online revenues aren’t making up for lost print ads.

But Bilton envisions a world where news is freed from the confines of newsprint and becomes better.

He speaks of smart content, smart sensors, avatars reading the news to you from your television and even interactive newspaper boxes that print out a personalized paper and automagically orders your customary drink at a nearby Starbucks.

That means Bilton is thinking of a world where traditional news stories show up on little mobile screens, laptops, e-book readers and television screens.

“If I start reading something on my laptop, why should I see it on my phone if I’ve already read it?,” Bilton asked, pointing to one of problems he wants to fix.

A few things we all really need to keep in mind.

• The death of several newspapers does not equal the death of all newspapers.

• Economies go in cycles, up and down. When they go down, newspapers suffer along with everyone else.

• The crisis for big newspaper chains is much more related to the mountains of debt than it is the absence of advertising. If anything is failing, it is a business model based on aggregating titles by borrowing money.

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Março 2009

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