Links for the weekend | Links para o fim de semana

With newspapers’ traditional business model in free fall, the top media minds at global design firm IDEO (designer of the Apple mouse, consultant to Fortune 500 companies) were asked to imagine: How will we get our news after the traditional model falls apart? Here’s their answer.


Listening to news executives talk about micropayments, Kindles, public subsidies, micropaymentscollusion, blocking Google and anything else that might save their businesses, it occurs to me that they may have missed some developments in, ah, well, the past ten years. For those and anyone else who is interested, I offer the following primer on how things have changed.

Any attempt to create a viable news operation needs to recognise and take advantage of these changes. I will probably have missed some – I’m hoping you can add them.

When the conference wrapped up at the end of the day, there was a public record of hundreds of tweets documenting the conversation. And the conversation continued — if you search Twitter for #hackedu, you’ll find dozens of new comments posted over the past few weeks, even though the conference happened in early March.

Injecting Twitter into that conversation fundamentally changed the rules of engagement. It added a second layer of discussion and brought a wider audience into what would have been a private exchange. And it gave the event an afterlife on the Web. Yes, it was built entirely out of 140-character messages, but the sum total of those tweets added up to something truly substantive, like a suspension bridge made of pebbles.

Twitter HQ should be nervous—very nervous. Like “it’s over” nervous. Like “the Tweet bubble is over” nervous. Like “holy crap I need a revenue plan in 27 days” nervous. Like “how is Time going to get younger users on Twitter” nervous (Time’s demo is the polar opposite of young).

And I’m not exaggerating. The Time story is that bad. Ashton was the first hint that Armageddon was near. Now Time seals the deal. Time tells us Twitter will change our lives! Really. It will.

Nevermind that the Time author does little to illustrate how Twitter will change our lives. Great, we talk in 140 characters. We’re using it to communicate in new ways. Sounds like the phone, instant messaging and text messaging. Humans always find new ways to communicate.

As journalists we have a tendency to lay all our cards on the table.  We are trying to inform, and we want to get as much information on the table as quickly as possible.  Most important stuff first, followed by sequentially less important information.  Inverted Pyramid style.  All this information up front makes for pretty boring cinematic storytelling.  Why bother watching the entire story if the you get the gist of it in the first few seconds.

Check out this video from the academy-award winning director of “Born into Brothels.”  In the beginning, you know very little about what story is unfolding.  Only an intriguing title to guide you, but bit by bit the director reveals more information to help complete the picture, always leaving a reason to keep watching up until the final seconds.

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Junho 2009

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