This week in media musings: An explanation
Every week, tens of thousands of words are written about journalism and new media — where they’re at, where they’re going, where they should be going, what that means. As I wrote in my opening post, anyone publishing their thoughts about media and news is part of a conversation that is at least robust and possibly overcrowded. Keeping track of that discussion can be an overwhelming task, especially if it’s something you’re doing, as I am, largely outside of the time you’re putting into your “day job.”
That’s why I plan to put together a regular review of that discussion, helping let people know who’s saying what and where it fits into the discussion. I’ll give a little bit of my take on what they’re saying, where it’s appropriate.
I’m doing this for two reasons: First, the conversation around the news media and new media is a sprawling, unruly one — something not tied to any defined community or leader. When I first dove into this discussion as a listener, I found few people actively and regularly attempting to curate it. There are several well-edited, comprehensive curators of various aspects of this discussion — Romenesko for the establishment media, Mashable for social media, Gawker and Mediate for who’s who and gossip, the fire hose that is The Huffington Post for just about everything — but it was difficult to find someone pulling the best together in a coherent way.
A small group of people do this very well on Twitter, led by the indispensable Jay Rosen, who functioned as my de facto professor in Future of Journalism 101. Rosen is an inspiration for what I’m trying to do here — give people an entry point into an ongoing discussion, point them to the best (or at least most important) of that discussion and help them connect the dots. I think there’s a tremendous value to helping do that within a community — the buzzword for it right now seems to be “curation” — and I want to help provide some of that value.
If the newsroom in which I work is any indication, there are many people in journalism now who are deeply interested in this discussion but aren’t following it in any substantive way. It may be crucial to the field in which they work, but they either don’t have the time to dive into it, or don’t understand it, or don’t know where to start, or resent that the fact that it’s even occurring. In part, these reviews are for these people, as well as others at the fringes of the discussion: I hope I can give them one more reason to dive in.
My second reason is a more personal one: I’m still learning this discussion, too, and I think the best way for me to continue to grasp it is to synthesize and explain it for others. That leads to the big, fat caveat that needs to go here: I’m not an expert in this discussion; in fact, I’m relatively new to it. Consequently, I don’t intend to write in the professorial tone that people like Rosen and Jeff Jarvis have earned. This review won’t be comprehensive, either; I know that my view of this discussion is going to (quite naturally) be limited in its scope and clarity, so I’m depending on you to correct me and point me to things I’m missing.
I hate to paraphrase a corporate slogan, but it’s apt here: Let’s learn something together.