February 23, 2014

Ezra Klein, Glenn Greenwald, Nate Silver - The future of journalism?

Glenn Greenwald has created The Intercept. Nate Silver has left the NYTs to join ESPN where he is editor-in-chief of the FiveThirtyEight site. Bill Keller has left the NYTs to create a blog on the criminal justice system. Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) is launching a new venture with Vox Media. Felix Salmon (@felixsalmon) has said: "We’re at an excitingly early stage in working out how to best produce and provide news in a social world." I looked at Greenwald and his new enterprise here. Ezra Klein is who I want to look at in more detail. This is what Klein has said of his new venture:
"We are just at the beginning of how journalism should be done on the web. We really wanted to build something from the ground up that helps people understand the news better. We are not just trying to scale Wonkblog, we want to improve the technology of news, and Vox has a vision of how to solve some of that.
Also, before moving on, the former Washington Post reporter Brian Krebs turned his beat into a profitable blog, see here. Moving on, Benjamin Wallace in The New York Magazine here, explained Ezra Klein's (@EzraKlein) plan to move from "persistent content" over "relentless presentism." He said:
"Klein’s theory of the news grew out of his frustration with the industry’s relentless presentism, with the fact that, because media organizations prioritize what’s new (that’s why it’s called news), an article about the latest development in Syria’s civil war would likely not mention the single most important fact necessary to understand what is happening: the historical enmity between Alawites and Sunnis. There is little allowance made for readers coming to a story late and an assumption that anyone who’s been following a story over time will remember all the relevant contextual information. Klein was constantly getting e-mails from readers asking questions like “I don’t understand how the subsidies work in Obamacare” and wrestling with how to better serve them. “When you’re trying to come up with a good approach to reporting on the bleeding edge of where the conversation’s moving,” he says, “you’re just leaving a lot of people who aren’t on the bleeding edge of that conversation out.” 
The answer, as Klein sees it, lies in the handling of what he calls “persistent content,” the more static information that makes the new stuff make sense. And here, he believes, the Internet has untapped potential."
Jay Rosen put it like this:
"We don’t have a news system that keeps us informed and helps us grasp the stories we care deeply about. We have one that floods us with reports on a schedule that makes sense for the manufacturers... The product is not “news” but understanding and that steady state of feeling well informed. The news system that today’s journalists inherited is simply not organized that way. And so it’s no surprise to me that Ezra Klein had to leave the Washington Post to find backers who understood what he wanted to do."

David Carr (@carr2n) wrote on the new and emerging model of web journalism over the legacy media outlets:
"For the longest time, the founder, Shane Smith, talked about Vice becoming the next CNN, which sounded outrageous. Now that it is valued at five times what The Washington Post recently sold for, it doesn’t seem quite so silly… Now everybody wants to be Vice or be Vice-like, or have a piece of Vice."
How is digital journalism different from print and TV journalism? George Packer answers:
"Well, for one thing, [David] Carr says, “Great digital journalists consume and produce content at the same time, constantly publishing what they are reading and hearing. And by leaving mainstream companies, journalists are often able to get their own hands on the button to publish, which is exciting and gratifying.” What this means, I think, is that digital journalists can read and write almost simultaneously, using news aggregators and Twitter feeds and other tools to sample and recycle what others like them write, quickly and efficiently, while figuring out their own thoughts about it, and putting it all up for the world to see, without the slowing interference of editors and fact checkers. The only thing missing from Carr’s précis of digital journalism is reporting. Although Klein did not get into specifics, I take heart from his phrase “as good at explaining the world as it is at reporting on it” and am counting on his new project to fill this gap online."
Henry Blodget wrote about digital as against print and TV journalism. The editor and CEO of The Business Insider, said to David Carr of the New York Times while at Davos:
"Digital journalism is as different from print and TV journalism as print and TV are from each other. Few people expect great print news organizations to also win in TV. Similarly, few should expect great TV or print organizations to win in digital. The news-gathering, storytelling and distribution approaches are just very different."

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