Open journalismfortheopenweb intro-sept2010


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Open journalismfortheopenweb intro-sept2010

  1. 1. Closing the gap: Journalism & technology Rich Gordon Director of Digital Innovation Medill School, Northwestern University
  2. 2. Snapshot: 1996 <ul><li>I hired a programmer as one of six employees to launch Miami Herald Online </li></ul><ul><li>I was told: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You don’t need a programmer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We will automate the conversion of newspaper content to publication on the Web </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Snapshot: 2002 <ul><li>Google News launches: automated news judgment! </li></ul><ul><li>No journalists were involved in the making of this product – even today? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evidence: Eight years later, the algorithm is incapable of recognizing that the best source for information about a news event might be one that is geographically closest to that event. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The lessons <ul><li>There are huge, important, unsolved problems that journalists and technologists can only solve together </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t speak the same language </li></ul><ul><li>But we have so much in common: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We care about the world around us </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We are creative people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By and large, we are motivated by more than $$ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We want to change the world and have an impact </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Let’s take a step back <ul><li>What’s journalism anyway? </li></ul><ul><li>Common assumptions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reporting – finding out important stuff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Writing and storytelling </li></ul></ul><ul><li>100 years ago, “journalist” meant more than that: it meant everything involved in the making of a newspaper. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reporting, writing/storytelling, packaging of content, publishing and distribution </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Job 1 <ul><li>We need to define – and expand – the “problem space” for journalists and technologists to collaborate </li></ul><ul><li>What it’s NOT: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Software that replicates or replaces what human journalists do </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Old models of journalism transferred to new platforms </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What it IS: Inventing the future, taking advantage of each discipline’s expertise </li></ul>
  7. 7. Challenges we can agree on? <ul><li>Digging up information that people need as citizens in a democracy </li></ul><ul><li>Making sense out of the world around us and translating that sensemaking into accessible content </li></ul><ul><li>Creating stories – and storytelling – that inform, engage and even entertain (why not games?) </li></ul><ul><li>Building media products that inform, engage and entertain </li></ul><ul><li>Innovating new platforms that help ensure an informed citizenry </li></ul><ul><li>Figuring out business models that will pay for all this </li></ul>
  8. 8. Working both sides … <ul><li>We need to make *all journalists* (or as many as possible) literate in technology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand what’s possible so they can collaborate with technologists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yes, some will even develop software </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We need to make technologists literate in journalism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand the culture and goals of journalists so they can collaborate with them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yes, some will even develop (or “commit acts of”) journalism </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. … and the middle <ul><li>Let’s just say that “journalism” and “technology” are different languages </li></ul><ul><li>If each of us speaks a little of the other’s language, we can communicate </li></ul><ul><li>But there is also a need for people who are truly bilingual </li></ul><ul><li>We need to find, train and nurture these people </li></ul>
  10. 10. Where we stand today <ul><li>There’s great work being done at the intersection of journalism and technology </li></ul> Narrative Science Chicago Tribune Election Center
  11. 11. Where we stand today <ul><li>Most journalism schools and organizations that do journalism training (Poynter Institute, Investigative Reporters & Editors) are teaching some technology to journalists </li></ul><ul><li>There’s an emerging interest in teaching journalism to technologists </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Georgia Tech – “computational journalism” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Duke – new Knight professor Sarah Cohen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Medill – “programmer journalist scholarships” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Columbia – joint MSJ/MSCS degree </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Hacks/Hackers <ul><li>2009: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rich Gordon and Aron Pilhofer propose a “disorganization” to help developers working in journalism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Burt Herman decides to bring journalists and technologists together in Silicon Valley </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Independently we come up with the name “Hacks and Hackers” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hacks : Journalists = Hackers: Programmers </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Hacks/Hackers <ul><li> A Q&A site for people working at the intersection of journalism and technology </li></ul><ul><li>Hacks/Hackers the organization: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Grassroots, community-centered, in person events </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chapters now in 8 (?) cities, including New York, Chicago, Bay Area, Boston, London </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Activities: Social meetups, visits/demos at tech companies, Hack days/weekends/thons </li></ul>
  14. 14. Resources <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: #hackshackers </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter list: </li></ul><ul><li> programmers.html </li></ul><ul><li> ContentServer/jrn/1165270052298/ JRN_News_C/1212612404258/JRNNewsDetail.htm </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  15. 15. Suggested readings <ul><li>Coverage of the first (and only) Computational Journalism conference at Georgia Tech </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Computation + Journalism = ??” http:// </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Journalists and Technologists: An Uneasy Courtship” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Brian Boyer’s reflections on careers for “bilingual” people: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ A Programmer-Journalist Contemplates Careers” </li></ul></ul>