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Today. Finish Watching Page One Doc Meet briefly with groups about presentations Lecture: Finish list of new functions of journalists. Discuss aggregation. Trends in Media Look at IQ2 debate structure. For next week please read Re-Thinking Objectivity from CJR by Brent Cunningham.

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  • Finish Watching Page One Doc
  • Meet briefly with groups about presentations
  • Lecture: Finish list of new functions of journalists. Discuss aggregation. Trends in Media
  • Look at IQ2 debate structure.
  • For next week please read Re-Thinking Objectivity from CJR by Brent Cunningham
overarching question
Overarching Question

“How can a [media] company foster an entrepreneurial digital culture while remaining true to its heritage?”


“How do you get consumers to pay for something they have grown used to getting free?”

initially ads seemed like the answer
Initially, ads seemed like the answer
  • According to the NYT:

“Media companies believed the formula for Internet success was to offer free content, build an audience and rake in advertising dollars. Now, with the recession battering advertising online, in print and on television, media executives are contemplating a tougher trick: making the consumer pay.”


Various outlets have tried charging for access to some content online, but it can cost them audiences and ad dollars.

  • Most publications have moved in the other direction, trying to draw the biggest audience for advertisers by offering content free.
  • The Associated Press’s new approach straddles the usual reliance on ads, and the new move to charge someone — though not the consumer — for the content.

Some new trends in media contribute to our conversation about the future of journalism.




major media trend 1 convergence
Major Media Trend #1:Convergence

This is the erasure of boundaries between media products. Convergence is the tendency of formerly diverse media to share a common integrated platform. This is a new development. Media convergence faced two major obstacles:

  • Noise associated with analog systems dealt with through digitization. Distortion no longer a problem.

2. Band-width limitations prevented large data packets, such as video, from being transmitted quickly.....but improved data compression techniques have made transmission of lots of data possible. 

major media trend 2 mobility
Major Media Trend #2: Mobility

MOBILITY- Media can come to us and we can get in almost anywhere

It used to be that you had to go to the store to get the paper…or have it delivered…

Today.....microprocessors and wireless technology means we no longer have to go to the media.

major media trend 3 fragmentation
Major Media Trend #3: Fragmentation

The phrase “mass media” is becoming less accurate every day.

Mass media used to refer to a large, undifferentiated, anonymous and passive audience addressed by TV, radio and print. But, an increase in media content has led to specialization and niche marketing.....Decreasing production costs have greatly altered the economics of the media industry....reducing the need for standardization. The result is a dramatic increase in output that caters to an increasingly diverse world. The internet is the  most fragmented medium....and frequently records user preferences to make the media even more tailored to individual tastes.

Pros/Cons of this?

but fragmentation raises a concern
But fragmentation raises a concern…
  • What happens when media is so tailored to specific tastes?
  • Do we lose a common discourse, a common language? Does quality decrease?
  • If something is gained in something lost in profitability?
  • Where is the drive to produce without the possibility of a big payoff? Or are big payoffs still possible?
the future of journalism1
The Future of Journalism
  • The “lean forward” news experience (vs. the previous “lean back” experience.
  • How is the news experience changing for consumers?

This new lean-forward consumer requires a new kind of journalism.

  • In the broadest terms, journalism must shift from being a product—one news organization’s stories or agenda—to being more of a service that can answer the audience’s questions, offer resources, provide tools.

To do this, news-people must replace the singular idea of the press as a gatekeeper with a more refined and nuanced idea based on what consumers require from the

  • There are 8 essential dimensions or functions that the new news consumer requires from journalism.

The important idea is this:

In the future the press will derive its integrity from what kind of content it delivers and the quality of its engagement, not from its exclusive role as a sole information provider or intermediary between newsmakers and the public.

  • We will require the press to help authenticate for us what facts are true and reliable.
  • While we will not look to journalists as our sole information provider, we will need some way of distinguishing what information we can trust and some basis in evidence for why that is the case.
  • Playing this authenticator role, however, will require a higher level of expertise from newsrooms.
  • The authenticator role will be a critical one at the heart of any news organization’s authority and a key element for remaining relevant when news organizations no longer have a monopoly over information or our attention.
sense maker
Sense Maker
  • Journalism will have to put information into context and to look for connections so that, as consumers, we can decide what the news means to us.
  • The reason this role is becoming more important is precisely because information has become more plentiful.
  • When information is in greater supply, knowledge becomes harder to create because we have to sift through more data to arrive at it.
  • That is why, in part, the journalism of affirmation has become more popular. But reinforcing prejudice, retreating to the familiar, is a false way of making sense, a retreat from learning.
  • Journalists also must continue to function as public investigators, in what many call the watchdog role.
  • Journalism that exposes what is being kept hidden or secret is so central, so essential, to a democratic government that its importance is fundamental to the new journalism as well as the old.
  • And some elements in our digital media culture are less likely to provide it because it is fundamentally a reportorial function grounded in verification.
  • We do not see much of it in the fast-paced journalism of affirmation or the interpretative journalism of assertion. It is less likely to come from a blogger largely offering opinion.
  • The press stands as an independent prosecutor, and by the power of its searchlight, it shapes, not simply follows, agendasby uncovering and exposing.
witness bearer
Witness Bearer
  • This is the monitoring function of journalism, which is less prosecutorial than the watchdog or investigator function.
  • There are certain things that occur in any community that should be observed, monitored and scrutinized.
  • This is to identify places in a community that must be monitored for basic civic integrity and to show up, and by having a presence, tell those in power they are being watched.
  • If resources do not exist, then the press must find ways to create and organize networks of new technologyand citizen sentinels to ensure that this monitoring occurs. Here lies a potential for the creation of new partnerships with citizens.
  • If the press does not help create these, it is possible that more self-interested groups will fill this space to control the information flow about critical points.
  • Future journalism is about mutual empowerment—journalists and citizens.
  • The citizen is empowered by sharing experience and knowledge that informs others—including the journalist.
  • The journalist is empowered by tapping into experience and expertise beyond his or her formal and official sources.
  • It starts with recognizing that the consumer or citizen is a powerful partner in this process, someone to be listened to and helped, not lectured at.
  • The end result of this is a continuing conversation.
smart aggregator
Smart Aggregator
  • We need a smart aggregator that patrols the Web on our behalf and goes beyond what computer algorithms or generic aggregator websites can offer.
  • The idea of the “walled garden,” in which a news organization offers only its own reporting, is over.
  • Aggregators should share sources they rely on, the stories they find illuminating, and the information that informed them.
  • In the same way that the press is an authenticator and a sense maker, the aggregation it engages in should save people time and steer them to trusted sources.
forum organizer
Forum Organizer
  • A community’s news institutions, new or old, can serve as public squares where we citizens can monitor voices from all sides.
  • If news-people imagine that their goal is to inspire and inform public discourse, then helping organize this discourse is a logical.
  • We all have an interest in this public forum being built on a foundation of accuracy. There is little value in arguments based on pseudo-facts and rumors.
  • Reportorial news institutions are well suited to build a public forum on reliable information.
role model
Role Model
  • The new press, especially those tied to legacy brands, if they survive, will inevitably serve as a role model for those citizens who want to bear witness themselves and operate at times as citizen journalists.
  • Inevitably people will look to journalists to see how their work is done, emulating what they see and like and altering what they do not like.
  • Some news organizations have gone so far as to set up classes for citizen journalists and to enlist them in their newsgathering.
  • Journalists must understand that their conduct is public, not just their stories. 
journalism of the future not obsolete just more complex
Journalism of the Future: Not obsolete, just more complex.
  • Virtually all of these functions have existed in the past.
  • But now, it is not enough for news operations to simply have a story each day on what they consider the most important subjects.
  • They need to understand what purpose each story serves for the audience, what service it provides or questions it answers. If it offers no service, it is a waste of resources and time to a more demanding proactive news consumer.
  • A story of limited or incremental value is a sign that the news operation is not offering much service.

What kind of stories serve a purpose? What kind don’t?

news aggregation
News Aggregation
  • News aggregation is a term used to describe human or computer generated collection and republishing of online information.
  • In the digital world, news aggregation is not so different. It involves taking information from multiple sources and displaying it in a readable format in a single place.
  • Almost all online news sites practice some form of aggregation, by linking to material that appears elsewhere, or acknowledging stories that were first reported in other outlets. 
  • Arianna Huffington often says that aggregation benefits original-content producers as much as it does the aggregators.
the ny mag story going rogue on ailes could leave palin on thin ice
The NY Mag Story: “Going Rogue on Ailes Could Leave Palin on Thin Ice,”
  • A NY magazine story required at least three days of reporting and editing work. The facts had to be bulletproof. The post went live on’s Daily Intel column at 7:57 p.m. on March 13.
  • The next morning, an editor for the Huffington Post spotted the item and wrote a rendition of it for that site, publishing at 8:27 a.m. Huffington Post played by the rules: It credited Sherman by name and gave a link at both the beginning and the end of the item.
  • The power of aggregation soon became clear: The original Sherman post drew nearly 53,000 readers on, and about 17,500 of them came directly from the links on Huffington Post.

-Active way for reporters to do research on a subject. Learn what others are writing about and saying then share it.-Provides a service to the audience. Reporter do the work of finding and organizing the best information on your topic.-Links out from publication to others (which helps generate authority and traffic for publication).

the appeal of aggregation for online journalists
The appeal of aggregation for Online Journalists
  • Its ability to give prominence to otherwise unheard voices
  • To bring together and serve engaged audiences
  • Minimal costs compared to what’s incurred in the traditionally laborious task of gathering original content.
choose what to aggregate
Choose what to aggregate
  • Valuable aggregation does two things well: It discovers relevant news stories and highlights the most relevant parts of those stories.
  • The most valuable sources to aggregate are ones the audience may not otherwise read. Think of news sources that may be smaller or less widely read, or that cover a different topic or geography.
  • The best tools are to subscribe to RSS feeds for key sites and then cast a wider net by subscribing to Google News Alerts for important keywords.
linking with a little summary
Linking with a little summary
  • Aggregation that sends readers directly to the original piece is fairly uncontroversial. This is the style of Google News, Techmeme
  • More controversial is the style of The Huffington Post, which is oftencriticized for summarizing aggregated stories to the point where there’s little reason to read the original version.
  • If you take this approach, the business advantage is that more readers spend more time previewing, sharing and discussing the content on your site instead of the original site.
summary style aggregation
Summary Style Aggregation
  • The key is to link prominently to the original source and to add value, not just copy from the original.
  • Put the spotlight on the news that’s most relevant to your audience. Pull out the information that your audience will find most interesting, and state it directly.
  • Quote or summarize only what is necessary to describe the news. Leave details to the original story. This helps keep reporter within the bounds of fair use and gives readers a reason to visit the original post.
  • Reporter should use own knowledge to include more context or link to related stories.
out of print by eric aleterman
Out of Print By Eric Aleterman

What is the difference between news online and news in print?

What should online news do differently?


“When a reader surfs the Web in search of political news he frequently ends up at a site that is merely aggregating journalistic work that originated in a newspaper, but that fact is not likely to save any newspaper jobs or increase papers’ stock valuation.”


“Today’s consumers want news on demand, continuously updated. They want a point of view about not just what happened but why it happened….And finally, they want to be able to use the information in a larger community—to talk about, to debate, to question, and even to meet people who think about the world in similar or different ways.”


News aggregation takes advantage of the community. “Alive in a way that is impossible for paper and ink.” What does that mean?

  • News aggregation sites mainly feature stories that originate elsewhere. The editors link to whatever they believe to be the best story on a given topic.
  • Lerer says online news isn’t the enemy of traditional news. He says “it’s the thing that will save them.” Why do you think he says this?

Online news is not as concerned about the editorial process, vetting sources, checking accuracy.

  • Online news “leverages the strength of its readers to challenge the mainstream media narrative.

Huffington (and others) “shares the benefit of these investments [in reportial/editorial staff] but shoulders none of the costs.” This is sometimes called a parasitical relationship.

  • Keller says bloggers “recycle and chew” on the news while the Times emphasizes a “journalism of verification.”

So……what is gained, what is lost in this new model? Does the online model shed lightness or darkness?

  • Newspapers are scrambling to adapt, but how should they go about this adaptation?
  • Are we entering “a fractured, chaotic world of news, characterized by superior community conversation but a decidedly diminished level of first rate journalism?”
woodward and bernstein
Woodward and Bernstein
  • Going out and doing investigative reporting
  • Having and making contacts
  • Persistent reporting over the course of a year
  • Are aggregation and analysis enough?
  • Reporters have resources of their organization to stand behind them. Do bloggers have this? What are the implications of this?
  • Spend a lot of time digging for info. Time is money.
  • Reporters make calls. Don’t just search online.

Know not to step on sources speech.

on the other hand
On the other hand….
  • Senior editors can make them stop reporting or hold publication. Bloggers make those calls themselves. Also, bloggers need to post constantly to stay relevant.
  • Editor has to fight for placement. Now there is unlimited space. Is this good or bad?
anonymous sources
Anonymous Sources
  • Cam we have unsourced stories of this kind from bloggers?
  • Series of checks and balances at big news organizations enforces a discipline of verification and accuracy. Does online journalism do this?
  • Does the hierarchy at a big news organization help or hinder?