To thrive in the future, the newspaper will need to use the web to turn itself into a 2.0 platform where readers and advertisers working together (not journalists) create most of the value.
Well, I’m still waiting for newspapers to adopt ‘Web 1.0’ techniques such as using hyperlinks within news stories. If bloggers, teenagers on MySpace, scientists, sports fanatics, pornographers, hobbyists and others who publish websites can embed hyperlinks in what they write, why can’t journalists and professional publishers?
Shovelware from print is why. Despite a lot of corporate public relations blather about merging print and web newsrooms or about the future importance of interactive, most news media companies still have the newsprint mentality online. They don’t think in ‘Web 1.0’ terms, nonethless ‘Web 2.0′.
Not only don’t they embed their stories with hyperlinks to other companies’ or organizations’ stories, but they don’t even embed hyperlinks to their own reporters’ source information or their own previous stories about the topics. They should have learned to do that and more in the 1990s.
Almost a week has passed since the American Press Institute presented the second phase of its Newspaper Next project. Upon reflection, I’m even more disappointed with it than I’d earlier wrote. I am friends with many of the people involved, but, please, if that industry didn’t already know that it’s role is to solve consumers’ ‘jobs to be done,’ then there is something very wrong with that industry. Yes, it helps the industry understand that it produces a service for consumers, not a printed product. But I’d expected much from what API heralded as ‘An Historic Moment for Our Industry’ and a ‘Blueprint for Transformation.’
When I google the name of my friend Dick Satran, with whom I worked at Reuters, I was reminded of Satran’s Algorithm. Here is Wired‘s explanation of the algorithm, in an article about a designer’s work on the Reuter building in Manhattan:
Ed Schlossberg’s next big thing is the Reuters News Index, an addition to the sign that debuts in 2003. Roughly every hour, a 304-foot thermometer will appear onscreen measuring how “hot” the news day is on a scale of zero to ten. Schlossberg hopes it will inspire people on the street to turn to each other and say, “Did you see that? The News Index just shot up to 6 degrees — what have you heard?”
The Index is calculated using Satran’s Algorithm – developed by Reuters and R/GA, and named for veteran Reuters editor Dick Satran. Every 15 minutes, the formula crunches four data points: the total volume of stories filed from Reuters’ 200 offices in 97 countries; the number of priority one and priority two stories filed (editors assign a priority code to each report coming off the Reuters wires); and the total number of Reuters.com hits logged in the previous 15 minutes. At one early meeting with Reuters editors, ESI design manager Gideon D’Arcangelo recalls, “one of them said that if we really wanted to make the index true to life, we ought to factor in the blood pressure of Reuters editors, too.”
I live in Greenwich, but it’s the American town at 74.5°W not the English one at 0° longitude. I’m thus amused to find myself listed by the Press Gazette, the trade journal of U.K. journalism, as among the people…
“…who are the ‘ new establishment’ of online journalism in Britain? Who are the people shaping the latest developments in bringing journalism to new digital platforms?”
I’m not the only American on the roughly 40-person list: Neil Budde of Yahoo! News, Dan Gillmor, Matt Drudge, Jeff Jarvis, Craig Newmark of CraigsList, and the founders of MySpace are there, too. It’s been a very long time since anyone listed me as a member of the ‘establishment’ in my own country. Should I emigrate?