A canonical reading list for the future of news

Earlier today, I received a request to put together a synthesis of the future of news discussion thus far. As such, I spent an hour or so going through my 600+ journalism links and now present the definitive, canonical reading list, a collection of both popular posts and hidden gems from the last 18 months or so that I’ve been paying attention to the industry.

Explaining the past

The [Monday] Papers
An epic laundry list of everything that needs to be said about the newspaper industry.

A Public Can Talk To Itself: Why The Future of News is Actually Pretty Clear

Perhaps the biggest challenge in media criticism this year has been making discussions on ‘Future of News’ more than a debate between New and Old Media. Just because a news organization established itself and started publishing recently doesn’t mean that the way they are publishing is any different than in the past. Many of the biggest news organizations to spring up in the last few years that are largely considered to be ‘new media’ — The Huffington Post, Gawker, Politico, Tech Crunch — are fundamentally similar to the NYT. That is to say, they are trustee media, they stake a claim on a certain beat and a handful of editors ultimately control everything that is published.

Open memo on how to right a sinking ship
A synthesis of all the advice I would give newspapers struggling to reinvent themselves: experiment with business models, improve your relationship with your community, and invest in your technology.

Objectivity isn’t truthful — it’s pathological

When the good-intentioned pursuit of truth leads the truth-seekers to lie (to themselves, to readers; by inclusion or omission) rather than break their code, there’s probably something wrong with the code.

How the Web and the Weblog have changed Writing
Superb essay on the web and writing formats.

Seeds for the future

A fundamental way newspaper sites need to change
Holovaty’s testimony for structured data.

The “Lack of Vision” thing? Well, here’s a hopeful vision for you

This isn’t copyright advice: What I’m really saying is we have to begin learning how to add value to the information we collect, and then put that information into a thoughtful structure to retain and expand that value.

Idea for the future of journalism: newspapers as providers of structured information for any given community. The scarcity is having that data in the aggregate.

Attention Is the Real Resource
Gruber prices advertisements in his full RSS feed at a premium because his readers are more engaged than one-off webpage visits.

A breakthrough for the Times? Possibly.
Content producers would bid to have their articles, images, videos, etc. appear next to related NY Times articles. Smart, intriguing subsidization idea.

Eleven Things I’d Do If I Ran a News Organization
Numbers two and three would be my top choices. Transparency by default, and leverage that to build intelligent conversation.

My advice to the New York Times? Copy Foursquare.
All of these ideas are smart. Specifically, Sean offers clever ways to use reader engagement with a website to build a profile of their interests and areas of expertise.

10 Ideas I Want to Try at the Newspaper Where I Work
I dig the ideas Will has for community relationship management, as well as using data and APIs well.

This is a mock-up for a news site that I think should exist
Users go to the site with journalistic questions they want answered, “Why is corn still subsidized?” as an example, and journalists answer them. Smart, but execution is the hardest part.

Most of all, however, I think this tweet depicts the entire horizon.


albert April 8, 2010 Reply

Good list, but hardly canonical.

Daniel Bachhuber April 8, 2010 Reply

Haha, it is for me. Just as much a reference point for me as it is a blog post.

Mike Coleman April 9, 2010 Reply

Going from 600+ discrete items to a relatively simplified, yet significantly relevant list definitely meets a canonical standard (measured against the secular definition of canonical). This hits all the right pain points, ranging from revenue through data (content) right on to community participation.

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