Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What David Carr said

New York Times media columnist David Carr delivered the keynote yesterday at the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism, a half-day program presented at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. (agenda)

It was a bit of a rambling talk (beginning at about 57:00 above), but here are some sound bytes:

* On the technology available to backpack journalists: "I think there's more power in here," gesturing to his own backpack, "than there was in the whole newsrooms [of yore] ... Reporters get more and more powerful every single day."

* On discussions on the failed business model for news and its effect on the quality of journalism: "What people are missing is how much deeper and richer journalism on the fly has become." In future content analyses, "They're going to see the quality of journalism not going down but going up because it's got all this information [databases and other research] built into it."

* On the power of branding, illustrated by his turning to the new hyperlocal D.C. news site to find out about the standoff at Discovery Channel, rather than the Washington Post: "It's a freaky age that we live in, in that way, where brands can pop up and become really, really meaningful."

* On the tech-savvy of younger journalists: "Multi-tasking [is] baked into them"; for them, consuming and producing news "are not separate acts."

* On new media vs. mainstream media: "What's happened is the insurgency and the mainstream media are creeping toward each other, where some of the voicings of mainstream media are changing and some of the best practices of mainstream media are beginning to affect [new media], and ... you're going to end up with another hybrid form that will not necessarily be distinguishable in terms of what you're looking at."

* On the realization by content-hungry operations like Demand Media that quality, human-produced copy matters: "Algorithms won't get you everything. Algorithms will not make phone calls."

* On an uptick in ad revenue this year: "This toboggan ride to hell that we've been on [is] finally slowing down."

* On misinformation on the Web: "I look at the Web as a big self-cleaning oven where stuff will live for a day or two and then the high mind will take over."

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