This Week in #Journalism: If You Bundle it, They Will Come.


Bezos thinks bundling is the answer.  What’s the problem with Twitter?  Is data science the goal of the new Post?  Does anything even matter when aggregators can summarize your work?  And what about history?  Is it history?

“People will buy a package,” Bezos told staffers, according to the Post. “They will not pay for a story.”

“Jay Rosen argues that news evolved to tell people about important events that happened in places they weren’t. But time can create distance as powerfully as space can.”

“Thompson [NY Times CEO] shares a bit more about the Times’ project-in-progress Need 2 Know.”  “the problem with Twitter is you don’t just get the news, you get everything else as well: uncorroborated but potentially precious eye-witness testimony and citizen journalism, but also rumour, speculation, disinformation, propaganda, lies and general nuttiness.”  “One statistic that is still startling even if, by now, it’s hardly surprising: In 2000, The New York Times generated $204 million in help-wanted advertising. In 2012? $13 million, a decline of 94 percent.”

“Erik Wemple breaks a huge media-corruption story for the Washington Post, and unfortunately for his employer, it’s about the Post itself.” “reports that the Chinese wall between advertising and editorial at the Washington Post Magazine, the paper’s thin little Sunday insert, is being seriously breached. Two stories from the August 11 education issue—one on college drinking and one on benefits for gay spouses of higher-ed workers— were pulled from the issue”  “If there’s a silver lining here, it’s Wemple, who takes it to his own employer as if they weren’t signing his paychecks. That’s brave on his part, but it also reflects well on the Post for letting him do so.”

“Contemporary journalism has a horrendous habit of considering history superfluous. If an event happened more than two—maybe three, if you’re lucky—decades ago, it’s impertinent. We just want the “facts,” and we want them now. No nuance, no complexity, and, Ford forbid, please no ambiguity. Ahistorical “journalism” is the norm; historical framing is abnormal.”  “Ignoring all of this history is ignoring reality. We can’t consider the stories we read in the corporate media real “journalism” when they ignore the very historical phenomena responsible for them coming into being. Contemporary “news” sources report on Assad as the “brutal dictator” (that he is) as though we had nothing to do with his rise to power. ”

“Data science.” In other words, not just the accumulation of data enabled by the ever-growing amounts of computing power, bandwidth, and storage we have available to us, but the smart application of it to reshape products, businesses, and industries in a continuous cycle of evolution and improvement.” “Ultimately, you need to have an idea of what your publication stands for and who you are as a journalist. Minus those lodestones, data can provide no guidance. But if you know who you want to reach and what you hope to do for them, there’s no question in my mind that data can help you fill in the map as you travel to your destination.”

“An awful lot of journalists I’ve spoken to over the years with background in old media think they know what’s wrong with the news business in the internet era, and I think they’ll be heartened to learn that Jeff Bezos agrees with them. The problem is that aggregators at the Huffington Post can summarize your hard work”

“On a complicated, fast-forward planet enveloped in information, journalists who thrive will be those who offer news consumers the same sense of trust that a skilled mountain guide provides to climbers after an avalanche. A sure trail cannot be guaranteed, but an honest effort can. Cronkite’s “That’s the way it is” no longer applies. Authority will derive less from an established media brand than through the constant scrutiny of the crowd. Effectiveness and impact may still come sometimes through a competitive scoop, but more often through collaborative networks in which insights flow in many directions.”

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