For many people at the intersection of the journalism-tech-media discussion, Twitter has moved well beyond the "What I had for lunch
" cliche (if it ever was that in the first place), past being a fun new technology
to experiment (read: waste time) with, and into a place by itself as the essential distributed source of news
and commentary on the web.
I'm no different. In my own web use, Twitter has long since supplanted RSS as my primary means of finding out what's going on in media and technology, and, as my thousands of unread Google Reader posts have evidenced, it's now become virtually my only
gateway into that conversation.
Yet my net of information is getting larger, not smaller. The magic of this curated-web use of Twitter is that it constantly points outside of itself; what's so exciting about Twitter is not so much what's within those 140-character updates, but where else on the web they take me.
In my case, it's especially important that Twitter gives a deep and wide entry into the world of the web: I write weekly roundups
for the Nieman Journalism Lab on news and discussion in the journalism-in-transition field, which touches on journalism, media and more than a few areas of technology. I'm counting on Twitter as a news source to ensure that those weekly reviews are comprehensive, contextual and, to some extent, authoritative.
To that end, I jealously guard my "journalism/media" Twitter list, since it's the door through which I access all of those conversations. I haven't made the list public, but I thought I'd share some of the best linkers and thinkers from that list, since they've proven to be the most helpful in illuminating the future-of-journalism discussion on the web. Follow all of these folks, and you should catch a pretty good chunk of what's going on in that discussion. I've never done a Follow Friday, so consider this my extended one-time Follow Friday recommendations, in no particular order:
Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu)
Who he is:
Journalism professor at NYU
Why he's worth following:
For six years, Jay was among the best journalism bloggers on the web at PressThink
. But in the last year and a half, he's moved much of his trenchant, sharp-tongued commentary onto Twitter, where he's once again found his sweet spot. He's referred in the past to his work as an attempt to provide a free journalism education to the public, and he seems to be accomplishing just that. If there's a center of this discussion on Twitter, it's Jay.
"Intriguing story of two college news providers at Penn State. Shows how the old media/new media divide is NOT generational http://jr.ly/ybi8"
Nieman Journalism Lab (@NiemanLab)
Who they are: A Harvard-based, foundation-funded "attempt to help journalism figure out its future in an Internet age." The Twitter feed is run, I believe, by Laura McGann and Megan Garber right now.
Why they're worth following: I'm not just sucking up because I write for them. The folks at the Lab are relentlessly scouring the Internet to find all kinds of links that might be helpful for people who care about the future of journalism.
Typical tweet: "Collaboration in action: Frontline, Planet Money, NewsHour team up for a multimedia project on Haiti http://j.mp/9WtBEb"
Mathew Ingram (@mathewi)
Who he is: Senior writer at GigaOm and former journalist with the Globe and Mail in Toronto.
Why he's worth following: Mathew always ends up in the middle of important journalism/media discussions, especially since he began his work for GigaOm a few months ago. Passes on a lot of nifty links from all corners of the field.
Typical tweet: "interesting post on ChatRoulette and the social need that it fills, from the social psychologist behind Trendspotting: http://bit.ly/9cIG9w"
Mindy McAdams (@macloo)
Who she is: Journalism professor at the University of Florida
Why she's worth following: McAdams is a top authority on multimedia journalism, and her Twitter feed is pretty nearly essential for people interested in that area. Links to bunches of tips on using a variety of journalism tools, as well as examples of those tools used well.
Typical tweet: "Maps and Adobe Flash - Iditarod - Have you seen this coverage of Alaska dog sled race? Anchorage Daily News - Vadim Lavrusik (@lavrusik)
Who he is: Graduate student in digital media at Columbia, also working on social media at The New York Times
Why he's worth following: He's one of the best linkers I've seen on digital media and social media, especially with a strong journalism-oriented undercurrent. Very high signal-to-noise ratio — he's always pointing you to good stuff.
Typical tweet: "Wikipedia's redesign is coming soon: http://bit.ly/adXECA Not dramatic, but more emphasis on search."
Steve Yelvington (@yelvington)
Who he is: New media strategist for news organizations
Why he's worth following: Steve's one of Twitter's best journalism opinionators. He's got a knack for summing up big ideas about journalism in 140 characters.
Typical tweet: "We no longer have masses, just niches. This confuses politicians as much as it does mass media people."
Cody Brown (@CodyBrown)
Who he is: NYU undergraduate student, founder of NYU Local and Kommons.com
Why he's worth following: Like Yelvington, Cody does more opining on journalism than linking. But his wisdom belies his age: He's got a sharp mind and a fantastical intuitive understanding of the way digital media works.
Typical tweet: "Can someone please explain why following a nyt journ from their byline is that much more innovative than including a hyperlink @anywhere?"
Howard Owens (@howardowens)
Who he is: Founder and publisher of The Batavian, an online local news org in upstate New York
Why he's worth following: For all our talk about hyperlocal news being the future of journalism, Howard's one of the few actually on the ground running a news organization and tweeting about it. He's a refreshing "libertarian/localist" counterpoint to the mostly liberal political leanings of other future-of-journalism folks on Twitter, and he's not afraid to mix it up.
Typical tweet: "@mathewi @kyigit anon=more frank? Can I respectfully call BS on that. Just not true. There is simply no virtue in anon on a news site."
C.W. Anderson (@Chanders)
Who he is: Digital culture professor at CUNY-College of Staten Island
Why he's worth following: Anderson's one of the few people who are somehow able to cram academically oriented insights about journalism into 140 characters. He asks a lot of provocative questions that force you to think about things a bit differently.
Typical tweet: "What would a j-school that proclaimed its fidelity to "understanding journalism" rather than "serving the journalism industry" look like?"
Judy Sims (@Judy_Sims)
Who she is: Independent Toronto-based online media consultant
Why she's worth following: An ideal combination of a sharp wit, interesting links and provocative insight. When you on occasion get all three in a single tweet, you're golden.
Typical tweet: "I give credit to Viv Mag innovation, but their iPad app just looks like an annoying flash intro to a crappy website. http://nyti.ms/a8kCij"
Steve Buttry (@stevebuttry)
Who he is: Director of community engagement at Allbritton's startup Washington online local news org.
Why he's worth following: A great linker. Finds loads of interesting stuff, and usually adds some insight as he's passing it along.
Typical tweet: "Newspapers' scorn for TV could hurt themselves. RT @jacklail Newspaper paywalls would be a ratings hit for local TV http://goo.gl/fb/39UQ"