"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." -George Orwell

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Come to the next SFDebate at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco and debate the future of news!

As one of the assistant organizers of the SFDebate Political Discussion Meetup, I got to choose, write the motion for and organize this event. If you like getting logical, contentious or just plain curious about news organizations and their futures, come join us for this event!


Motion: This House Supports Instituting a Tax-Exempt Option for U.S. News Organizations

Where: The Commonwealth Club
Location: 595 Market Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105
Cost: $5 for non-members, free for members.
RSVP online: http://www.meetup.com/sfdebate/calendar/14532035/

Is technology turning journalists into crackheads?

Speed, speed, speed!

Does anyone speaking online about the future of news delivery mention anything other than speed?

How about quality, quality, quality?

Or better yet, speed, quality, customization and relevancy?

What other industry doesn't have a balanced approach in its delivery of a product? In our quest to jump on the technological bandwagon of News 2.0, or whatever you want to call it, the news community has become nothing more than a zoo full of squawking parrots for the start-up and technology worlds, hoping to harness some of the speed, brain trust (and, ahem, funding) that tech companies like Google and Bing are enjoying at present.

Even my dad's pet squirrel Pewer gets tired just thinking about how fast news comes at him these days.

Can we get back to the strengths that got us here, folks? Writing that embodies a sense of history while grasping the future, reputation for factualness and grammatical accuracy, insatiably curious natures and noses for newsworthiness, peer-review and consiseness (not just leaving word count to flap in the wind, since the internet is infathomably big)?

Anyone will tell you that in terms of the nature of a traditional hack, I am by no means the definition of one, embracing changes in technology before I know how to use them. But I'm losing my patience with our industry. Let's get back on track with our objectives, shall we?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hacks and Hackers: a match made in Information-Age heaven

Networking does pay off: Through our SFDebate at the Commonwealth Club, I was introduced to a friend who was also part of another Meetup group, Hacks and Hackers.

I couldn't believe what I read on the description: "The worlds of hackers and journalists are coming together as reporting goes digital and Internet companies become media empires." Dear god! Someone's heard the answer to my frustrated cries of asynchronization!

I joined in January this year and every event has been a leap forward in the way I think about the content-technology creation and delivery process, not to mention the beautiful interplay that can happen when you take all the best people of two disciplines and throw them together under one little start-up roof. Team A puts together really fast little vehicles that look and function sweetly, and Team B fills the vehicle with the kind of quality conversation that changes lives and turns daunting journeys into nostalgic road trips.

Or at least, that's what could happen if we move from mere meetings to partnerships :)

So far, I've attended three Meetups, all at three really stellar little SOMA loft spaces: Freshout, a space "pioneering disruptive ideas on the web," Parisoma and Kicklabs. Names?
  • Facebook and the news: Making journalism social
  • Can the semantic Web make journalism smarter?
  • Hacks and Hackers: The future of personalized news

Thanks Burt Herman, organizer of Hacks and Hackers. You've made the bridge I've been looking to cross for awhile now.