News Innovation for KNC

October 1, 2009

What they did in the past well?
The winners from the past did a lot or really innovative projects. The majority of them were super creative, and I wish I came up with a few of the ideas. The Knight News Challenge has a lot of talented competitors to choose from. Ideas were one of a kind. Each project was pretty creative. One of my favorite projects was from MediaBugs –a 2009 winner. There project was an idea of helping journalists report the truth. Readers had the opportunity to inform the writer about errors in their work. I do not think I have ever heard of anything like this before. Personally, I have seen one error in the Austin Statesman and I did not know who to contact. The error was not anything big, but it was still wrong. This might help people gain trust back in an industry that people often consider as being media bias. My second favorite winner was fromhref=”http://www.newschallenge.org/winner/2007/everyblock”> Everyblock (a 2007 winner). The large amount of money awarded immediately caught my attention, but after reading the description it seems well deserved. The project was designed to allow citizens to have access to databases so they could act on civic disturbances around their neighborhood. I am not sure how many citizen journalists would want to take down the government, but it would be interesting to figure out how many would try.

What they could do better?
It’s really hard to critique a winner since they were evidently good enough to win the Knight News Challenge. As I browsed the KNC site, I found the journalism tips they suggested. The suggestions basically said to be creative, do something you are familiar with, and have a possibility-oriented mind. Each winner certainly had all of those suggestions. One thing I noticed that many of the entries did not have was a video submission. Since I am a broadcast journalism student I just like to see ideas expressed in video. Facial expressions and body language can often help me decide on ideas by seeing the passion they share for what their trying to address. Written proposals are great, but compared to the contestant expressing their views in an enthusiastic manner immediately would draw my attention.

What I want to do?
After reading Jeff Jarvis’ book, “What Would Google Do,” I’m really torn between many ideas that I would like to submit to the Knights News Challenge. My original plan was to do something on crowdsoucring and tie in the 21st century model. The community wants certain issues covered. This idea would expand public participation by creating a website that is for the community to pitch the story ideas. I would want to model it after Spot.us journalism and have people advise the writer on what to cover. A lot of the reporting would have to be investigative work. Once the story is complete I want bloggers to feel free to leave comments about what the reporter did. Each blogger has to identify them self since anonymity would certainly NOT be tolerated. Putting a name and picture alongside the comments would encourage people to make educational responses and limit ignorance. At first, I felt like it was the perfect solution, but now I kind of figure everyone in the J349T class would have that same idea.
Presently, I do not think I want to do my innovation project on crowdsoucring. After reading the first few chapters from “What Would Google Do,” I thought Jarvis’ approach on blogging about how bad Dell’s customer service department treated him, gave me my next idea. He didn’t have anyone to take his anger out on, so he wrote in his personal blog about how horrible Dell’s service was toward customers. I am not sure if there a website were you could just complain about receiving poor service, or a product that really sucked even exists. So my innovation project would be for a website with consumer complaints in blogs. I know I like to complain about a horrible product. If you want to complain about a business you can always contact the Better Business Bureau, but what about individualized products?
To monitor what’s the truth there would have to be some type of proof—a picture, video, audio, or anything that can prove your point. The next step would be to have reporters see if the story matches up and addresses the issue to the company. This would give the companies a great way to respond to any negative criticism. Jarvis states in his book that the customer always right, hopefully a website like mine would help continue the trend. I’m not sure exactly how I would make money besides advertisements. I don’t like seeing a lot of advertisements jumbled up on a page, so I would want more content but something simple.

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First Blog

September 21, 2009

Where will journalism be in the next 20 years…10 years…or better yet tomorrow? This ever present question has racked the minds of many journalists. Truth be told, journalism will be around for a long time. Someone will always need to report the news even if it is in an unconventional way. There are always people who advocate that Journalism is here to stay! In my opinion I agree with the professor’s advice in the video. We will always need someone to report the news it just might have a different way of getting to its audience. Recently a lot of journalists have come up with models to help our industry. A few of the models will not survive but some ideas seem good enough to at least try. In my opinion the best idea so far, is the 21st Century Model.

Business Model vs. 21st Century Model
These two models both have a lot of setbacks and advantages. The 21st Century model for the newspaper is most likely to work in today’s internet dependency world. The business model has had a lot of financial issues. After reading Michael Mandel’s government-facts blog regarding the journalism job market on BusinessWeek.com, it was a little sad. His graphs were not surprising, but they did have enough information that showed a scary future for print journalists. The graphs show a decline in newspaper employees since the 1990s. Mandel provides several illustrations describing the sudden rise in internet publishing while still focusing on the decline in newspapers. Other journalism markets (broadcast, radio) seemed to be stable.

Scary Future

Scary Future


Declining newspaper employment compared to internet and broadcast.

As you can see in the above picture the business model of journalism has failed.
Looking at all these depressing charts really does make me see the turmoil in journalism. In every business there are both good and bad days. Today journalism might be in a recession, but the next step is always recovery and then everything stabilizes. Business will eventually get better it will just take some time to adjust.

Paul Bradshaw’s suggestion for a 21st Century Model for the press has a better chance of survival. Bradshaw’s idea is up to date with the present technological times. All of the other models that suggest micropayments or anything else have not worked with society. His suggestions on having the first alert on a mobile device, then a draft of the story on a blog, finally finishing with the article being published might save print. This idea is incorporating both technology and newspapers.

Future Model

Future Model


Bradshaw’s model uses new innovation as well as the original form of newspapers.

Making New Trends Work
I really hope news organizations begin to follow Bradshaw’s model. A lot of ideas have not worked in the past, but this might begin the process of recovery in journalism. It could make an impact on daily lives. This model really drew my attention because it focused so much on incorporating all forms of media—mobile, blogs, and print. I have really tried to say updated on different forms of media. Recently I have started reading blogs. Blogs that catch my eye where you can really tell that the writer used every source they possibly had so readers can grasp the full understanding of what’s taking place. Lately, I have been following more newspaper staff blog’s as opposed to writings for their papers. When I first moved out of my college dorm and into my apartment I read the Austin Statesman, religiously. Then one day I was on their site and came across Austin360. I love the fact that the writer’s blog about their beat, but it’s more personal. My two favorite blogs to read are Alberta Phillips and Pamela LeBlanc. Phillips writes about staying fit in Austin and LeBlanc blogs about problems in the community.

As much as I read blogs, some that don’t have journalism background, can be misleading. My guilty pleasure on reading horrible journalism writing is MediaTakeout. I am a fan of its juicy gossip, but the writing is horrible. Sometimes they have factual errors or misspelled words.

The video below, is by Chris Pirillo, and he questions whether blogging is journalism. He goes into great detail explaining the differences between journalism and blogging. Pirillo’s defends blogs and says their only blogging out of passion compared to a journalist, who received a degree and are now getting paid for their work. I agree with some of his ideas but he says that journalists tend to mislead the truth, but if a blogger misinterprets something then it’s not a big deal. In my opinion, bloggers need to also get the truth right so they can be creditable.

If blogging becomes the new journalism, it might become harder for people to decipher between creditable information to something that is false.

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September 17, 2009

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