Have you read John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney’s article at The Nation about How to Save Journalism? You should.
In it, they discuss different federal agencies and the work they have been doing in examining the problems in our nation’s newsrooms. Each agency has undergone investigations and have been discussing proposals that may help the newspaper industry. Within the next few weeks the FTC is going to hold hearings to figure out what they can do to eliminate the shrinking number of jobs there are at newspapers.
In the third paragraph the authors bring up a great point, one that I’m surprised and annoyed that no one else has brought up before.
the way the challenges facing journalism are being discussed, indeed the way the crisis itself is being framed, will make it tough for even the most sincere policy-makers to offer a viable answer to it.
The authors point to the language used in many of these conferences and how the entire industry is being framed as obsolete because of the internet.
The FTC’s conference is titled “How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?” FCC chair Julius Genachowski explains the crisis as the result of “game-changing new technologies as well as the economic downturn.” The assumption is clear: it’s the Internet that’s the problem. But just as MTV’s debut pronouncement that “Video Killed the Radio Star” proved to be dramatically overstated, so is the notion that journalism’s disintegration can be attributed to a brand-new digital revolution or even an old-fashioned economic meltdown.
Another interesting section chronicles the downfall of newspapers predating the surge in popularity of the internet. This hasn’t previously been discussed and really sheds some light on what has gone wrong.
If you aren’t as dorky as me (and really who is?) then you may not be aware of the AP Stylebook. A must have for all journalists, the stylebook comes out with a new edition each year and is the main source for usage, spelling, abbreviations, as well as other grammar/writing advice.
Along with the rest of journalism, the AP Stylebook is changing and adapting to become more aware of new and social media. The editors recently announced that they will be adding a new section of the book on new media and social media for the 2010 addition that will be released in June. Currently, the book has sections for business, sports as well as punctuation.
I’m interested to see what the AP will and will not include in the section. It will be interesting to see how current the section will be, and if in future issues current entries will have to be deleted because of obscurity.
Regardless, this is a big deal for the social media community, and geeks like me who can’t wait to purchase a new copy of the stylebook.
Wired.com’s Chris Anderson wrote a piece in 2008 entitled Free! Why $0.00 is the Future of Business.
In the article he makes some great points, but at times his ideas seem wild and impossible. While I realize that most content on the internet is currently free, I do not see how that is going to be possible in the future. With newspapers and magazines trying to be online only, how will they turn a profit if they do not charge for their content?
Right now advertising online is not making the profit newspapers wish it was. Thus, newspapers cannot rely on that alone to keep a publication afloat.
Perhaps the most interesting Anderson discusses is “Freemium”, where:
The traditional free sample is the promotional candy bar handout or the diapers mailed to a new mother. Since these samples have real costs, the manufacturer gives away only a tiny quantity — hoping to hook consumers and stimulate demand for many more.
In the freemium model, that means for every user who pays for the premium version of the site, 99 others get the basic free version. The reason this works is that the cost of serving the 99 percent is close enough to zero to call it nothing.
The example Anderson gives is Flickr and Flickr Pro. Users do not have to pay for Flickr but Flickr Pro costs roughly $25 a year. I understand this business model but how is that going to work for newspapers or magazines, when the mere thought of paying for an online subscription makes people livid?
As Anderson states in his article, information wants to be free and free is what we want information to be, so soon it will all be free online. This is a bold statement, one that I’m not ready to admit to working just yet.
Today Fiona Barnett, the Director of HASTAC Scholars and a Ph. D. candidate at Duke University, announced that there would be a new Twitter account for HASTAC scholars. There already is one for HASTAC in general, but now with the scholar one information can be more organized and readily available.
The HASTAC Scholars program has been doing a lot lately to make the program more visible in social media. There is a Facebook group and a listserv for members. Overall, it makes communication much easier.
Today a new HASTAC forum was announced. It’s called Grading 2.0: Evaluation in the Digital Age.
The abstract for the forum says this:
As the educational and cultural climate changes in response to new technologies for creating and sharing information, educators have begun to ask if the current framework for assessing student work, standardized testing, and grading is incompatible with the way these students should be learning and the skills they need to acquire to compete in the information age. Many would agree that its time to expand the current notion of assessment and create new metrics, rubrics, and methods of measurement in order to ensure that all elements of the learning process are keeping pace with the ever-evolving world in which we live. This new framework for assessment might build off of currently accepted strategies and pedagogy, but also take into account new ideas about what learners should know to be successful and confident in all of their endeavors.
While this topic isn’t something I’m particularly interested in, I am excited to see what people come up with. It will be intriguing to see where the professors on HASTAC will take this conversation. I’m also hoping that standardized testing is talked about thoroughly, as recently there has been much debate about how they help prepare students and how they gauge intelligence. Specific studies of the SATs and GREs would be an interesting topic to look at.