Future of Journalism Webcast: My Twitter Coverage

On Oct. 28, the 100-year-old Christian Science Monitor sent shockwaves through the news business when it announced that in April 2009 it will switch from daily to weekly print publication, and invest more resources in its online operations. (Poynter coverage by Rick Edmonds.)

This set some pretty interesting context for the Future of Journalism panel discussion that the Monitor hosted last night in Boston. This session was webcast live. (Video will be available later today.) I watched it online and covered it via Twitter.

As I always do, I used my amylive account to provide this live coverage to over 200 people who specifically want it. That’s because my volume of live-coverage posts would tend to overwhelm the nearly 1400 people who follow me at agahran.

Several other Twitter users were also covering or discussing this event, including the Monitor, Jeff Cutler, Wayne Sutton, and Dave Poulson. Many of used the hashtag #CSMFOJ to make all of this easier to find.

Here’s my complete Twitter coverage of this event. I’m posting this as an experiment, to see if this kind of archiving helps me or others. What do you think? Please comment at the end — and bear in mind that posting this compilation is very different from the Twitter experience…

(NOTE: This is Twitter. Things move fast here. Please excuse typos and abbreviations.)

Moderator: John Yemma, CSMonitor editor.

Panelist: Ellen Hume, Research Dir., MIT the Center for Future Civic Media: http://civic.mit.edu

Panelist: Mark Jurkowitz: Associate Director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism: http://journalism.org (good domain grab!)

Panelist: Douglas K. Smith: Exec. Director, Sulzberger News Media Executive Leadership Progam, Columbia U: http://snurl.com/56qey

Panelist: Sree Sreenivasan: Columbia J-school new media program head & Dean of Student Affairs: http://sree.net

Context for this talk: Monitor is switching to weekly rather than daily print edition, beefing up web news operation. Somewhat controversial

@100yearsofcsm Name, title of woman speaking now, please?
Up now: Moderator: John Yemma, CSMonitor editor. Panelists are seated.

If you’re on a mac and having trouble viewing this webcast, I made it work by selecting the Windows Media Player version via safari

Yemma mentioned a bunch of people who are watching this webcast online — but they didn’t mention Twitter

Jurkowitz: “Who’s going to pay for quality journalism? Cheap news = TV pundits. $$$ news = investigative, bureaus, beats (incl. envt.)”

Jurkowitz: Seems to be defining “quality journalism” only as packaged stories by pro news orgs. I strongly disagree. Process, not product!

IMHO, this will be the big hurdle: Getting journalists (but NOT the public) to understand that quality journalism can take very diff forms.

Jurkowitz: “10-15 yrs ago, media world would have recoiled about wealthy private financing of journalism like Propublica.”

Jurkowitz: “A little good news: 91% news execs surveyed think investigative journalism is still important: http://snurl.com/56r0h

@100yearsofcsm They still haven’t mentioned Twitter yet, any way to nudge moderator on that?

Ellen Hume, MIT Center for Civic media up now…

Hume: “The yen for real information in communities is pracitally universal. People want to know what’s going on.”

@100yearsofcsm My Q: Can the panelist envision journalism that isn’t confined to pckgd stories, but rather is conversation, updates, etc.?

Hume is mentioning that TalkingPointsMemo community is where atty gen scandal emerged.

Hume: “You (anyone) can commit an act of journalism” (I like that she talks about tasks of journ, not just stories.)

Hume: “Journalists should not be popular. If they’re popular, there’s something wrong. If J’s just popular/comml. viable, something’s wrong.”

Hume is describing Ft. Myers News-Press crowdsourcing effort on sewer billing: http://snurl.com/56r6x

Up now: Douglas K. Smith: Exec. Director, Sulzberger News Media Executive Leadership Progam, Columbia U: http://snurl.com/56qey

Smith: “News orgs were 1:many. Technically monopolies or oligopolies. We need to deal with that.”

Smith: “News org cultures grew up around biz/editorial Berlin wall for 40+ years. There are consequences to that.”

Smith: “News orgs have inherited armed camps, internally. That’s a problem.”

Smith: “What’s broken today? Who is the audience, what do they have in common w/ ea. oth? How do you find/keep them?”

@DPoulson I agree, but I’m surprised the sewer bill anecdote is still news to a lot of MSM folks

Smith: “Existing news orgs have very few gen mgrs – broken leadership/mgmt model. Most impt broken piece of news biz today.”

Smith: “If you don’t have gen mgmt perspective, you don’t have any way to blend components to creat sustainable news orgs.”

Smith: “Most of us, we live our lives in markets, networks, orgs, friends, family.”

Hashtag to follow for Monitor webcast on future of Journalism (live now): #CSMFOJ http://snurl.com/56rhj

Up now: Sree Sreenivasan: Columbia J-school new media program head & Dean of Student Affairs: http://sree.net #CSMFOJ

Sree post-election context: “Smart use of tech had a central role in eventual victor of pres. race.” #CSMFOJ

Sree: “Obama campaign brought a souped-up NASCAR engine to a go-cart race.” #CSMFOJ

Sree: “Hard to imagine, but in last pres. election cycle, YouTube did not even exist!” #CSMFOJ

Sree: “Old news tech was abt perfection. New news tech is abt good enough. We shouldn’t lower our stds, but learn from new tricks” #CSMFOJ

Sreetells how Flip video connects his kids’ grandparents in India to his kids lives fast. #CSMFOJ

Sree: “Google is celebrating its 10th anniversary NOW. Looking fwd, we need to blieve & know there’s good stuff still coming.” #CSMFOJ

Sree: “Keep an open mind (to media future) but don’t let your brains fall out.” #CSMFOJ

Q&A starting now;

Hume: “Media channels are merging — on your phone, computer. Much richer experience, but puts more pressure on journalists.” #CSMFOJ

Hume: “MIT is developing tools to select video clips by finding a few words, being able to search & select.” #CSMFOJ

Hume: “Video is at the heart of everything.” #CSMFOJ

Smith on broadcast future: “Inside ABC news, for Iraq coverage the expectations for perfection were very expensive.” #CSMFOJ

Jurkowitz: “Will broadcast journ students have anywhere to go? Yes. Things change, but not instantly.” #CSMFOJ

Jurkowitz: “Perpetual Q: When is nightly newscast gonna end? It won’t. TV is a powerful, persuasive advertising medium.” #CSMFOJ

Q: “How do you verify info (esp photos) in crowdsourcing situation?”

Hume: “We all have to develop more new media literacy. You have to take more responsibility for what you take seriously.” #CSMFOJ

Yemma: “When you’ve got the ‘good’ and not the ‘perfect,’ how do you deal with veracity concerns?” #CSMFOJ

Sree: “Audience has responsibility. If you get a photo and are not sure it’s true, don’t forward it.” #CSMFOJ

Sree: “What I see: recommendations from friends taking precedence over recommendations from news orgs.” #CSMFOJ

Sree on Friend recommendation priorities: If 1 friend recommends, skeptical. If lots, pay more attention. #CSMFOJ

Sree: Even Wikipedia says it’s not a first source. THEY tell you to stuff out. #CSMFOJ

@jeffcutler I don’t think entire population needs to be a “skilled reporter.” Just more caveat emptor mindset, which IS possible.

Hume: “Journalism is a flow, but news *papers* are not. Big Q is how do we serve democracy by distributing facts, not just opinion?” #CSMFOJ

Jurkowitz: “Print newspaper will continue to evolve into more niche, less time-sensitive channel.” #CSMFOJ

Yemma: “Print increasingly seems like a specialty product.” #CSMFOJ

Yemma: “Online you have infinite space, but not infinite access to attention.” #CSMFOJ

Jurkowitz: “On NY subways everyone IS readin print paper; The Express: Cliffnotes version of todays news.” #CSMFOJ

YAY! Yemma just acknowledge us here on Twitter!

Sree: “Still photos remain powerful. I think you’ll have both — stil photog AND video. Doesn’t have to be either/or. #CSMFOJ

Sree: “We’re in a golden age of radio now! We just call it audio. #CSMFOJ

Hume: “Can a pro photog get paid for taking pictures when everyone has a dig cam? I don’t have the answer for that.” #CSMFOJ

Q: Are j-schools really prepping students for the work & jobs they will be doing? Great Q! My answer: Mostly not #CSMFOJ

Yemma just admitted that the narrative lede doesn’t really work well in print, let alone online. I agree. #CSMFOJ

Hume: “I love that when you do the story online, you can assemble not just info & content assets, but access to active groups.” #CSMFOJ

Sree: “It was a lot easier to teach online media in 1999 because no one knew anything.” #CSMFOJ

@jeffcutler pretense of not existing is ONE WAY to do journalism. Not the only (or only valid) way.

Q: Monitor reader: “Online J does not need a newspaper. So how does news biz preserve editorial integrity to sustain print journ? #CSMFOJ

Smith: “J values incl accuracy, skepticism, effective storytelling. But diff audiences have diff needs, weight those differently.” #CSMFOJ

Smith: “News orgs NEED aud members to interact to help guide how the news org brings those values together in coverage.” #CSMFOJ

ACK! I just lost the streaming video & audio! #CSMFOJ

OK, just refreshed browser window, stream back now #CSMFOJ

Q for Sree: How do we marry “perfection” with “good enough?”

Sree: “I hesitate to romanticize great historical journalism like Watergate coverage like it only existed in the past.” #CSMFOJ

Sree: “You see new examples, new voices of great new journalism. like Nate Silver of http://fivethirtyeight.com” #CSMFOJ

Sree: “http://fivethirtyeight.com had best polling this election of all poling operations, using technology & ground reports.” #CSMFOJ

Sree: “Nate Silver is a baseball stats geek, not a trained journalist!” #CSMFOJ

Great idea! RT @waynesutton: I really think it’s time for @newmaya & I to start our journalism camp for newspapers & journalist #csmfoj

RT @100yearsofcsm: @BarbaraKB The entire video of tonight’s event will be posted on the FOJ website tomorrow afternoon.

Sree: “If I’d invested in Rafat Ali years ago, I’d eventually be a millionaire many times over. http://paidcontent.org” #CSMFOJ

Hume: “J-students: The public will capture the moment/headline. Your job is to be a tour guide in media landscape, bring expertise. #CSMFOJ

Hume: Face time is still deeply important with sources, community. Don’t just rely on tech, even phones. #CSMFOJ

Jurkowitz: “When you watch “All the President’s Men,” today, amazing how slowly it’s paced. No studio wld greenlight today.” #CSMFOJ

@100yearsofcsm Oh bummer, are they just going to blow off all Twitter questions for this event? :-/ #CSMFOJ

@100yearsofcsm People have always chosen news/channels that suit their worldview. That’s not really new to online/mobile.

@100yearsofcsm Ok, so conversation “continues” at monitor, but how can people not at the monitor participate?

Apparently, entire video of this webcast will be posted on tomorrow pm: http://snurl.com/56tfn

This concludes my live coverage. My main twitter ID is @agahran, please follow me there. I use this ID only for event coverage. Thanks!

@100yearsofcsm When you say “check back w/ us for updates” – where? Twitter? Web? Other? about 14 hours ago from twhirl

My main twitter ID is @agahran, please follow me there. I use this ID only for event coverage. Thanks!

One thought on “Future of Journalism Webcast: My Twitter Coverage

  1. Amy,

    Interesting experiment by reposing your twitter coverage here. It doesn’t work for me, but perhaps that’s because I read it real time while you were covering.
    That said, I really enjoyed following and contributing with hashtags with the video playing in the corner of the screen. It was like whispering in the back of the room with a bunch of people while the presentation played out. And I’d say it added to what I took away from the event.


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