Sunday, November 28, 2010

Post-Thanksgiving readings in journalism

(via Flickr: jj_pappas423)
Turkey eaten, house guests gone, it's time for some late-weekend reading:

"Why Spreadable Doesn’t Equal Viral: A Conversation with Henry Jenkins" (Nieman Journalism Lab): If you remember nothing else from this piece, take away its catchphrase:

"If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead."

In other words, if something isn't compelling enough to share ("spread"), it might as well not exist ("dead"), says author and academic Henry Jenkins. In a Q&A with Nieman, he's asked to talk about his idea's implications for traditional news media. (One hint: pay walls inhibit spreadability, destroying any value the corralled information had.) 
"Weekness and Endurance" (New York Times): In case you missed it, David Brooks offered a paean to the weekly news magazine, which once fulfilled the country's "earnest self-improvement ethic" but more recently lost ground to the Lake Wobegon effect: that everyone already is above average. Now, says Brooks, referencing the Newsweek-Daily Beast marriage, "There must be room for a magazine that offers an aspirational ideal to the middle manager in the suburban office park, that offers a respite from the deluge of vapid social network chatter, that transmits the country’s cultural inheritance and its shared way of life, that separates for busy people the things that are enduring from the things that aren’t."
Music video interlude.
"Another Setback for Non-Profit News" (Reflections of a Newsosaur): Alan Mutter takes a look at the recent stumble by the American Independent News Network, a nonprofit that set up franchised news sites online "to inform public debate through journalism that adheres to the highest standards of the profession." But the recession hit the nonprofit as badly as any other news operation, resulting in the planned closing of The Washington Independent and cutbacks elsewhere. To Mutter, it shows the fragility of the new model that looks to foundations, subscriptions and other benefactors to fund journalism.
"My 2010 Holiday Gift Guide for Independent Online Journalists" (OJR: The Online Journalism Review): Since we're now officially in the holiday gift-giving season, Robert Niles offers a list of toys -- er, tools -- for the backpack journalist who want or needs to do it all.
Video interlude: Sesame Street offers parents an "app" parody.

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