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A presentation given at the Natal Witness, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa - 5 September 2006

A presentation given at the Natal Witness, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa - 5 September 2006

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  • Anecdote of overheard conversation at a journalists’ convention, concluding with, “Yes, it’s all about story.” We in journalism education – and the profession – are very skilled at teaching writing and at telling stories. The problem is, we are far less skilled in having something to say, something of importance and rich with insight that can help – and not merely entertain – our readers and listeners. So this presentation could also be titled [CLICK]

No, it is not "All about story." No, it is not "All about story." Presentation Transcript

  • No, it is not “All about story.” Prof. Tom Johnson Institute for Analytic Journalism Santa Fe, New Mexico USA t o m @ j t j o h n s o n . c o m Natal Witness Durban, South Africa 5 September 2006
  • And or & or + Prof. Tom Johnson Institute for Analytic Journalism Santa Fe, New Mexico USA t o m @ j t j o h n s o n . c o m Natal Witness Durban, South Africa 5 September 2006
  • Journalism is…
    • “ The central purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with accurate and reliable information they need to function in a free society.'‘ — Bill Kovach Committee of Concerned Journalists
  • What journalists do
    • The job of journalists is "to monitor the centres of power."                                                                                         Israeli journalist  Amira Hass
  • Today’s objectives
    • Discuss journalism (and journalists) as a species existing in the Datasphere
    • Review the changes in the information environment
    • Suggest steps journalism can (Should? Must?) take to adapt to those changes if we are to survive
    • Suggest the possible disappearance of the species journalist serioso
  • The New Datasphere extends the Old
    • Most canons of journalism stand fast (Though there are some new issues for ethics and law)
    • The challenge today is not the old, but the addition of the new
    • Journalists, et al., in Datasphere
    Changing Datasphere: Metabolism Latent Energy In Energy Out
    • Species in Biosphere:
  • Basic Information Theory = Process of Journalism Data In Info Out
    • Interviews
    • Text docs
    • Clips
    • Pictures
    • Infographics
    Analysis This is a headline DATELINE -- And the traditional text story starts here and goes on and on and on.
  • Communications Revolution? 2nd Era = Symbols Print Paper Ink Writing 1st Era =
  • “ 100% de la Población Sufre Problemas de Salud Mental”
  • Challenge of Digital Revolution 100% de la Poblacion Sufre Problemas de Salud Mental 010100100100100110101101 101011101010101010101010 010101010101010100111010
  • Communications Revolution? 2nd Era = Symbols Print Paper Ink Writing 3rd Era = 101010101101010101000100101 1st Era =
  • Changing Datasphere
    • Data and “data appliances:” Smaller, lighter, faster, cheaper and greater capacity
    • 1956: First hard drive. 5mgb. 50 24-inch platters. 2,150 pounds the size of a refrigerator.
    • Cost: US$10,000 per megabyte or $10m per gigabyte. Today: one 3.5” HD has a gigabyte for <50 cents.
  • Changing Datasphere
    • In 50 years, areal density of HDs increased by 50 MILLION times
    • Expect to see 1-inch terabyte drives in 10 years
    • 1991 - First 2.5-inch HD for laptops held 63mgb.
    • Today – 2.5-inch HD holds 160gbyte and is 60 times as shock-resistant
    • Moore’s Law. Yes, but….
  • Major Changes for Society/Economy
    • Power/information shift away from government, mfgrs, marketers, politicians media TO citizens
    • Era of increasing -- not diminishing -- resources
    • Era of increasing -- not decreasing -- returns
  • Major Changes for Industry/Journalism educ.
    • Data/information in digital form: requires new tools, analytic skills, delivery methods
    • Network TV news dead; Newspapers (in much of Europe and U.S.) are comatose
  • Major Changes for Industry
    • Become data/information driven in decision-making
    • Get out of the news PAPER or broadcasting business; get into NEWS and DATA/Info rmation biz
    • Deliver content however consumers want it whenever and wherever they want it
    • Leverage journalism’s data and skills to customize data/info. for users
  • Role of news institutions
    • Must become the HUB for “transactions” between individuals and the data they need, want, seek:
      • Intellectual transactions
      • Cultural transactions
      • Economic transactions
      • Political transactions
  • “Hub” model of journalism Journalism Institution: 3 unique values
    • Data Resources needing users
    • Economic
    • Culural
    • Occupational
    • Entertainment
    • Users with data needs
    • Economic
    • Cultural
    • Occupational
    • Entertainment
  • “Hub” model of journalism Journalism institution
    • Users with needs
    • Economic
    • Cultural
    • Occupational
    • Entertainment
    • Resources needing users
    • Economic
    • Cultural
    • Occupational
    • Entertainment
    • How to do this?
    • See “data” as a renewable/reusable resource
    • To survive means to learn. Constantly
    • It’s about “ teams ,” knowledge management, coordination
    • Fred Kockott, 2006 Journalist of the Year:
      • “ It’s not a one-man business …This work of the sub-editors, photographers, graphic designers and others is often not recognized.” ( Librarians?)
  • Database Publishing - Data In Data Warehouse
    • Reporter’s DAT
    • “ Amateur”
    • News Agencies
    Data Warehouse
    • Dynamic db
    • Dynamic maps
    • Streaming A/V
    Audio
    • Reporter’s DAT
    • “ Amateur”
    • News Agencies
    Online Video Print
    • Text
    • Images
    • Infographics
  • Database Publishing-Info Out Data Warehouse Audio PDA/Cellphone Video Data Warehouse Print TBA
  • Classic Journalism Information Environment
    • I-o-P storage, analysis and communication
    • Linear intake of data as TEXT
    • Primitive analytic tools
    • Only literary skills needed and highly regarded
    • 100% of our work was qualitative : text or static images
    Journalism: The first refuge of the mathematically phobic!
  • Classic Journalism Information Environment
    • I-o-P storage, analysis and communication
    • Linear intake of data as TEXT
    • Primitive analytic tools
    • Only literary skills needed and highly regarded
    • 100% of our work qualitative -- text or static images
    • Throw away total work product every 24 hours
  • Changing Datasphere
    • As storage medium changes from I-o-P to 1's and 0's…
    • ...we need functional technology between the data/info and our brain.
    • Requires new awareness/skills for RRAW-P ( R esearch, R eporting, A nalysis, W riting- P ackaging model)
    • Adopt new literacy to survive, NOT as old-style hunters-and-gathers but new era interpreters and explainers .
    • Some of us move from data fishermen to data farmers to support the community
  • RRAW-P Process of Journalism
    • R esearch
    DEADLINE!
    • R eporting
    • A nalysis
    • W riting
    • P ublishing- P roducing- P ackaging
  • Process, and Emphasis, of Classic Journalism: RRAW-P Reporting Analysis
    • The focus of…
    • Journalism education
    • On-the-job training
    • Mid-career training
    • Most graduate studies
    Writing- Publishing, Producing, Packaging Research
  • Process - and Emphasis - of Digital-Age Journalism Reporting Analysis
    • Must be – somewhere, some how – the focus of…
    • Journalism education
    • On-the-job training
    • Mid-career training
    • Most graduate studies
    • Research
    • Reporting
    • Analysis
    Research
  • Classic Journalism Information Environment
    • I-o-P storage, analysis and communication
    • Linear intake of data as TEXT
    • Primitive analytic tools
    • Only literary skills needed and highly regarded
    • 100% of our work qualitative -- text or static images
  • I-o-P vs.. Digital Environment
    • Traditional Data In
    • Interviews
    • Text docs
    • Clips
    • Pictures
    • Infographics
    • 100% of story
  • I-o-P vs. Digital Environment
    • Digital DATA IN
    • Interviews
    • Text docs
    • Scholarly articles
    • Archival content
    • Pictures
    • Infographics
    • Sound/Video
    • Dynamic maps
    • Database publshg
    • Ink-on-paper = <50% of story
    • Digital data = >50% of story
  • Major Changes for Media Production
    • “ Data In” is qualitative AND quantitative
    • “ Info Out” must be qualitative and quantitative
  • Major Changes for Datasphere Newsroom
    • Journalists must be able to work like good social scientists and good poets
    • Literally put information specialists (aka: librarians ) in center of space and process
    • Implement team -- conceptual or skills -- approach
  • Survival in the Datasphere
    • All analysis and eventual stories have three conceptual aspects:
    Content? Analytic Tools? Methods/ Process?
  • Intellectual Navigation
    • Quantitative
    • Locate Data
    • Acquire
    • Analyze
    • Qualitative
    • Locate Data
    • Acquire
    • Analyze
    STORY!
  • New skills for journalists
    • Just as an opening hand….
    • Sophisticated online research
    • Analytic and visual statistics
    • Spreadsheets
    • Database creation and analysis
    • Geographic Information Systems
    • Social Network Analysis
    • Forensic Accounting/Performance Measurement
  • Significance for Journalism
    • Learn to think in multiple dimensions: non-local & non-traditional sources; depth of sourcing; raw data; dynamic online &quot;data“ (i.e non-documents)
    • Need greater analytic skills, e.g. quantification, mapping
    • Greater degrees of specialization in newsroom (GA reporter may be a dying intellectual breed in 5-10 years. Declining status?)
  • No, it is not “All about story.” It’s about AND , & and + Prof. Tom Johnson Institute for Analytic Journalism Santa Fe, New Mexico USA t o m @ j t j o h n s o n . c o m Natal Witness Durban, South Africa 5 September 2006
  • R RAW-P = RESEARCH
    • What has been published in I-o-P or online related to our topic of investigation?
    • Keywords? (Broad or narrow)
    • Likely sources? (Gov’t./NGOs/unions/scholars,etc.)
    • Forms of data? (I-o-P (( T-e-P ); PDF; Tables; spreadsheets)
    • How will I retrieve and store/manage data found?
  • Examples of Research
    • Military expenditures in Venezuela?
    • Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
    • Search Military Expenditure and Arms Production Publications
    • Find “ CBMS IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE EFFECT OF ARMS ACQUISITIONS BY VENEZUELA (WP)”
    • SIPRI Military Expenditure Database http://first. sipri .org/non_first/ milex _06.php
    • How do we save URL? Save data in searchable form?
    • What if the article is T-e-P (I-o-P)? Are we teaching OCR? PDF text and table data extraction?
  • R R AW-P = REPORTING
    • Talk to sources to fill in developments, data between what was last published and today. (What tools to use to keep track of source contact information?)
    • Any major theoretical or institutional changes in policies?
    • Any sources that I should know but do not yet know?
  • RR A W-P = Analysis
    • What are the questions?
    • What form is your data? (Text? Spreadsheets? Data bases? GIS? Social Network Analysis? Etc.?
    • For major investigations, create a process “flow chart” (See SmartDraw )
  • RRA W-P = Writing & Publishing
    • Important and significant only if the R-R-A aspects have been successful.
    • Writing & Publishing requires only about 10-20 percent of entire story-making process.
    • Traditional journalism education programs concentrate on this 20 percent and, many, ignore the more important 80 percent.
    • We know how to teach people to write, but good journalism requires that first they must have something important to say. That requires Analytic Journalism
  • Inst. for Analytic Journalism
      • General Systems Theory
      • Statistics
      • Visual Statistics and Infographics
      • Simulation modeling
    Our “Cornerstones”
  • Introduction to Analytic Journalism: Cornerstone 1: Ways of seeing/understanding: General Systems Theory
  • Think of a phenomenon as . . .
    • . . . an onion (with a peel and layers)
    • . . . an organism (with stages of life, blood, head, and heart)
    • . . . a factory (with raw material, source of power, bosses, and workers)
    • . . . a building (with foundation, windows, and façade)
    • . . . an ecology (with niches, climates, and food chains) Source: Weinberg, Gerald M. “ An Introduction to General Systems Thinking” http://www.dorsethouse.com/books/gst.html See also http://www.geraldmweinberg.com/Bookstuff/Each_Book/GST.html
  • Think of a phenomenon as . . .
    • . . . a language (with grammar, dialects, and speakers)
    • . . . a code (with secrets, transmitters, and receivers)
    • . . . a body (with personality, sexuality, upbringing, and occasional disease)
    • . . . a system (with inputs, feedback, and outputs)
    • . . . a structure (with hierarchy, needs, and objectives) Source: Horwitz, Richard P. http://twist.lib.uiowa.edu/rhorwitz/rootsas.htm ©2000
  • Think of a phenomenon as . . .
    • . . . a game (with plays, rules, and referees)
    • . . . a drama (with roles, script, and audience)
    • . . . a city (with streets, sewer lines, and neighborhoods)
    • . . . a text (with authors, genres, and readers)
    • . . . an ideology (with premises and implications)
    • . . . a regime (with a currency, rulers, and rebels). Source: Horwitz, Richard P. http://twist.lib.uiowa.edu/rhorwitz/rootsas.htm ©2000
  • Why General Systems Theory?
    • If one learns the structures, when transferring from one discipline to another, much of the learning could be transferred. When studying a new discipline one would simply have to learn the labels on the structures in the new discipline.
  • Narrowing the Focus: GST
    • Resource: http://www.systems-thinking.org/welcome.htm
    • &quot; Studies the organization of phenomena.... Investigates both principles common to all complex entities and the 'models' (usually mathematical) which can be used to describe them.“
    • SYSTEMS: &quot;...things that collectively behave differently as opposed to their behavior when separated.“
  • Brief introduction to GST
    • Attributes of a system ….
      • Composed of variables , i.e. elements that can be defined, or described, separately.
        • Sub-variables. Tree-to-branch-to-leaf-to-cell
      • There are relationships between variables
        • Horizontal relationships
        • Vertical (i.e. hierarchical) relationships
  • Brief introduction to GST
      • A system has boundaries
        • Conceptual
        • Legal: corporate, jurisdiction
        • Geographic
        • Cultural
        • “ Scalability”
      • A system has goals , self-defined or with a definition imposed by a server/researcher
        • Make money
        • Provide for group security, happiness, procreation
  • Brief introduction to GST
      • A system exists in a context and in an environment
        • These change with time, resources and personalities
        • Changes in the context can drive changes in the system…
      • A system learns from changes in its variables or environment
        • This requires a feedback loop
  • A newspaper as a system Editorial Production Circulation Advertising “ Backoffice”
  • A newspaper as a system
    • Local News
    • Int’l News
    • Business
    • Sports
    Editorial
  • A newspaper variables and sub-systems
    • Local News
    • Int’l News
    • Business
    • Sports
    Editorial
    • High School
    • College
    • Professional
  • System hierarchy and “scalability” Editorial Sports Newspaper Media Football H. S. Football Higher Concept Lower Concept Macro Scale Micro Scale
  • Online enterprise Dynamic system model
  • Value of GST
    • Demands definition/focus on exactly what system are you talking about?
    • Demands consideration of level of analysis, i.e. “zooming” levels of focus
    • Demands definition of variables and then the relative importance of those variables
    • Demands consideration of relationships between variables
  • GST as basis for simulation models
    • Once system, goals, variables and relationships defined, can start to ask “How do we measure the strength of those relationships?”
    • This is where dynamic simulation models become valuable.
  • These activities involve resources and power
    • Resources: The symbolic and material components a system needs to carry out its tasks.
    • Power: The use of resources by one system in order to gain compliance by another system.
  • Power role
    • Power roles
      • Resource-controlling relationships
      • Taken on mostly by systems
    • Producer Power Role
      • Creates material for release to public
      • Competition over niches
  • Why General Systems Theory?
    • If one learns the structures, when transferring from one discipline to another, much of the learning could be transferred.
    • When studying a new discipline one would simply have to learn the labels on the structures in the new discipline.
  • How many ways to “knowing”?
  • Journalism’s Future
    • Journalism is NOT just about telling stories. It is about facilitating the “transaction” between people who want data (to make their own information), and the sources with the data. (Analysis of the data helps, but only if it is valid and meaningful.)
      • Tools like ASP.Net
    • This transaction includes commerce. (How can we link the products to the interested people? Use PDF page files and XML tags)
  • Journalism’s Future
    • Journalism educators should be researching the whole of journalism, not just teaching how to write.
    • The Three Unique Aspects of news organizations
      • The “Brand”
      • The Archives
      • The “Wetware” in the newsroom
  • Journalism’s Future
      • What is the role of “knowledge management” in news organizations?
      • How do we structure and manage team reporting?
      • How do we do on-the-job training (and how much and what?)
      • How do we increase multiple revenue streams and compensate the staff?
  • Analytic thinking/journalism
    • What is it?
    • Where did it come from?
    • How does it work?
    • What are the necessary variables?
      • Frame the appropriate question
      • Find and retrieve appropriate data
      • Use appropriate analytic tools
      • Show what you know with story-appropriate media
  • What journalists do:
    • Not an orderly, serial [i.e. step-by-step] progression.
    • RRAW-P process
      • Research
      • Reporting
      • Analysis
      • Writing
      • Publishing-Producing-Packaging
  • Intellectual multi-tasking
    • Applications
      • Mail handlers
      • Sophisticated use of browsers
      • MS Word
      • Excel
      • Possible GIS applications
      • Sites to “learn” applications
        • http://www.sfsu.edu/infotech.htm
        • http://www.PCShowAndTell.com
        • http://www. elementk .com/
  • Digital Skills
    • Managing YOUR information
      • Handling e-mail
        • Outlook, Eudora or Netscape Mail
      • No AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo! E-mail accounts
        • Use BU or other “professional” ISP – AT&T, RCN, Register your own domain www.namesecure.com
      • Correct SUBJECT: line vital (see syllabus)
    • Organize in folders
    • Calendars
    • To-do lists
    • Ticklers
    • Varied assignment deadlines
  • Major Changes for Media Industry
    • Become data/information driven in decision-making
    • Get out of the news PAPER or broadcasting business; get into NEWS biz
    • Deliver content however consumers want it
    • Develop team approach in newsroom and across company
  • Major Changes for Media Industry
    • Move away from assembly line cost analysis to “frontloading” of production process
    • Embrace “all the time” education
    • “ In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future.&quot; — Eric Hoffer Longshoreman, philosopher
  • Major Changes for Media Industry
    • Understand/leverage quadra-helix of news , transactions , community and individual
    • Stop throwing away work product. Reuse/repackage/reposition content
  • Changes for communication scholarship
    • Perception, observation and manipulation of 1s and 0s equivalent to atomic theory or quantum mechanics
    • Meaning , usage and context open to new forms of analysis
    • Theories of communications can become experiments can become “ technology ”
  • Atoms to bits and bytes ...1s and 0s, we can track them through infor-mation systems like minerals in a watershed
    • As symbols flow from I-o-P characters to...
    11001010 10100101 01010010 01001101 01001010 10100101 00100011 01010110
  • Dynamic Datasphere models: hydrology
  • Dynamic Datasphere models: Chemical Eng.
  • Dynamic Datasphere Models: Epidemiology Figure 4. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome cases in the Four Corners region, by probable exposure site location, 1993–1995 (n = 53 cases and 52 exposure sites).
  • Dynamic Datasphere Models: Crime Analysis
  • Analytic Journalism Ways of seeing/understanding First Cornerstone: General Systems Theory