Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Digital Journalism Through Storytelling: Media Future Now Presentation

On March 22nd, Cory Haik, Deputy Editor of the Universal News Desk of the Washington Post and I were invited to speak about the new forms of journalism that are enabled by digital tools such as mapping, crowd-sourcing and data visualization. The talk was a part of a regular series of conversations managed by Media Future Now, a small independent group of digital doers and thinkers in Washington DC, led ably by Andrew Mirsky

My presentation was more of an overview of new forms and formats of digital storytelling that I have been proud to witness in public media, including Andy Carvin's amazing work with the current Mideast "people revolutions" in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and beyond. My underlying points were thus:

  1. Cheap, powerful software + cheap, powerful networked sensors (e.g. smartphones) + constant (largely non-journalism) innovation = constant changes in forms & formats, especially if journalists keep up
  2. As warned by Robert Benincasa, the data journalist for NPR, we must beware of "fetishize visualization over content," meaning that editorial decisions must guide visualization and that there are different interests and constraints of the artist (creative) versus the journalist.
  3. In the seemingly coming era of paywalls (or the final, sad collapse of mainstream journalism), it is not just brand that carries the day, but quality, unique, relevant content that has editorial narrative...and this might be supplied, in part, by new forms of digital journalism.
Next up with Cory Haik, who talked through the daily tradeoffs and balances of her job in managing the firehose of Washington Post content. It was a bravo performance of how to drive real innovation inside of real journalism. With me sitting in the audience I took furious notes. It is well worth-watching. (See below)

My presentation:

An embed of the presentation, thanks the New America Foundation, where the event was held.

Video streaming by Ustream

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