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Posts Tagged ‘Jay Rosen’

Jay Rosen and The Four Ideas of Journalism

Jay Rosen has been talking, writing, and singing (unconfirmed) about journalism for 25 years now, and today he took to his blog Press Think to dispense what he’s learned about the subject during that time.

Rosen breaks journalism down to four ideas:

  1. The more people who participate in the press the stronger it will be.
  2. The profession of journalism went awry when it began to adopt the View from Nowhere.
  3. The news system will improve when it is made more useful to people.
  4. Making facts public does not a public make; information alone will not inform us.

We especially like idea number four, and always have. The thought that reporters and others are unbiased is ridiculous, and as Rosen explains, leads to mistrust among the public:

The problem is equating trustworthiness with the prohibition on taking sides, when the actual result may be exasperation with he said, she said, rage at the helplessness that ‘leaving it there’ creates, and mistrust of the formulaic ways in which journalists try to advertise their even-handedness.

The Atlantic Debates Old, New Media

In the latest issue of The Atlantic, James Fallows puts together an impressive piece on old media vs. new media. He speaks to a wide range of people – Jay Rosen, Jeff Jarvis, Eric Schmidt – to give the article an all encompassing feel, but the meat of the piece is centered around Nick Denton and Gawker, who represent new media.

Fallows basically makes the case that Denton and Gawker are the future of media, and that though their way might seem shocking now, it’s important to realize the benefits of a rapidly changing media landscape.

The problem people have with embracing Gawker is that it doesn’t neccesarily provide real news, but that’s something that even Denton admits:

In my first ‘interview’ with him for this story, conducted over the course of nearly an hour through an instant-message exchange, he said that a market-minded approach like his would solve the business problem of journalism—but only for ‘a certain kind of journalism.’ It worked perfectly, he said, for topics like those his sites covered: gossip, technology, sex talk, and so on. And then, as an aside: ‘But not the worthy topics. Nobody wants to eat the boring vegetables. Nor does anyone want to pay [via advertising] to encourage people to eat their vegetables.’

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Jay Rosen Says Journalists Should Be More Biased

It’s not often you find someone who thinks that the media should be more opinionated, but that’s just what Jay Rosen says in a piece by NPR’s David Folkenflik today.

Rosen thinks that journalists should disclose their biases because it would negate something he calls “the view from nowhere.” Folkenflik explains:

That phrase — ‘the view from nowhere’ — is what Rosen calls the media’s true ideology: not exactly on the right, and not exactly on the left. It is, he says, the way news organizations falsely advertise that they can be trusted because they don’t have any dog in the fight.

Most people already know that the media is biased [insert FishbowlNY Fox News joke #374 here] so Rosen makes a good point here. Why not just do away with all the posturing – like NBC scolding Keith Olbermann as if no one knew what his political leanings were already – and just tell it like it is? As Rosen says, the old method isn’t working anyway:

Removing all bias from their reports is something that professional journalists actually aren’t very good at. They shouldn’t say that they can do this, because it’s very clear to most of the people on the receiving end that they fail at this all the time.

ProPublica Teams Up With NYU Carter Journalism Institute For ‘The Explainer’

NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and ProPublica to enhance a form of journalism they’re dubbing “The Explainer,” which seeks to provide “essential background knowledge to follow events and trends in the news.” The project is specifically built on a collaboration between ProPublica and the school’s Studio 20 concentration for graduate students, which focuses on initiatives for the web. Studio 20 students will be charged with editing the project’s online home, Explainer.Net, while will track the project’s ongoing progress throughout the academic year.

NYU professor and media expert Jay Rosen explain the aims of this project as well as what, exactly, an “explainer” might be:

An explainer is a work of journalism, but it doesn’t provide the latest news or update you on a story. It addresses a gap in your understanding: the lack of essential background knowledge. We wanted to work with the journalists at ProPublica on this problem because they investigate complicated stories and share what they’ve learned with other journalists. It seemed like a perfect match.

In case it’s still not quite clear, here’s an example: “An explainer for the Irish debt crisis would make clear why a weakness in one country’s banks could threaten the European financial system and possibly the global recovery. A different kind of explainer might show how Medicare billing is designed to work and where the opportunities for fraud lie.”

So it’s something like taking a news item beyond a headline to show cause, consequences and interconnected issues. The “Building a Better Explainer” project will run through the remainder of this 2010-11 academic year.

Goals for the project are as follows:

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Dissecting ABC’s Breitbart Debacle

On his PressThink blog, media critic and NYU professor Jay Rosen tries to figure out what in the world ABC News was thinking when they invited LA’s most infamous right-wing Internet troll Andrew Breitbart, to participate in their election coverage.

Breitbart’s aims are not a mystery. “I’m committed to the destruction of the old media guard,” he has said. ABC News is obviously a part of that old media guard, the destruction of which is Breitbart’s leading cause. Anyone who has watched him operate understands this. “Conservative media mogul Andrew Breitbart has always wanted to take down the ‘liberal media establishment,’” said The Atlantic in June.

Only a political moron and culture war innocent would fail to realize that the “liberal media establishment” includes the people in charge of election coverage at ABC News— especially on-air personalities like Stephanopoulos, who co-anchored with Diane Sawyer. Breitbart openly seeks the demise of those who invited him to contribute to their election night journalism. Don’t you think that’s odd?

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Study Finds New Media Doesn’t Fill Journalism Gap

newspapaers_lrg.jpgWhile blogs and social networking sites like Twitter pride themselves on being able to break stories faster than conventional news outlets (as well as often playing the role of citizen watchdogs to the MSM), a new study has found that the actual original reporting produced on the Internet is nowhere close to the amount needed to make up for the gap caused by cuts in traditional journalism.

The study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, funded by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, found that in Baltimore alone, only one-third of the number of stories were being produced from the same number of outlets in 1991. One would hope that with digital media making print obsolete (or at least, inconvenient and expensive), that blogs and online publications would pick up the slack, but unfortunately that’s not the case either:

“Digital-only outlets accounted for just 4 percent of original pieces of reporting: One report came from a local blog, and the other was breaking news disseminated by a police Twitter feed.”

This would concur with an idea floated during the Jay Rosen/Clay Shirky discussion at NYU last month: that the Internet was never meant to replace traditional journalistic sources, but to work as a supplement. If we decry print journalism completely, we’ll not only be losing a valuable resource of news, but nearly all of our original information-gathering stream. Publications as they exist on the Internet now simply do not have the money or man-power to incite long-term, investigative reports or keep journalists embedded overseas the way mainstream outlets can.

Read More: Most original news reporting comes from traditional sources, study findsLos Angeles Times

Previously: NYU Media Professors Discuss Future Of Media By Looking Back

Micropayments: Pay Walls’ Happy Medium?

cents.jpgWhen entertainment industry trade Variety decided to put its online content behind a pay wall earlier this month, it promised options for how users would go about paying. (Random selection being one of the more out there ideas we’ve heard for pay walls, but hey, everyone is trying something new.)

Other Web sites like those belonging to The Financial Times have embarked on a plan that would eventually allow users to purchase individual articles for a small fee, much like buying a song from iTunes for 99 cents instead of the whole album for $10.

Media analysts don’t necessarily agree that bringing down the price of content (even if it costs customers more money in the long run) will make potential readers take out their wallets. Jay Rosen New York University journalism professor, Bryan Keefer of The Daily Beast and Josh Benton of Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab both see the chink in pay walls’ armor as being that the majority of people just won’t pay for content in its current state, period. (Rosen actually predicted the paradoxical idea of paid-for “exclusivity” appealing to link-obsessed readers in a 2005 article for The Huffington Post.) So the people already paying for subscriptions will continue to pay, and the rest won’t be typing in their credit card information, no matter how small the fee is.

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NYU Media Professors Discuss Future Of Media By Looking Back

rosenshirkey.jpgLast night, New York University hosted a panel in its continuing “Primary Sources” series focusing on journalism, featuring professors and media commenters Jay Rosen and Clay Shirky.

While the topic may have officially been “New Media’s Present and Future,” the conversation quickly moved into the past: specifically delving into five years ago, which Shirky said most people mistakenly refer to as the Golden Era of Journalism — before the Internet came and took all the money away. Five years ago, Shirky stated, newspapers were losing readership left and right, but their revenue was booming. Ironically, now most newspapers actually have more readers due to their Web sites, but the money has dried up.

While most news orgs would have liked to take that conversation in the direction of how to get that money back, Shirky and Rosen were more interested in how the Internet plays into the public’s perception of the mainstream media.

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CNN First in News, Last in Ratings, Light on Twitter


Yes, it’s official, like Law and Order, CNN has been beaten by its spin off Headline News. It’s now fourth in prime time for 24-hour cable news channels. All Things Considered had an interesting piece on it yesterday.

But it also has the second most Twitter followers of all time (the first being Ashton Kutcher) and it barely tweets as Jay Rosen so smartly pointed out.

Ironically we’re struck speechless at the thought of having nearly three million followers, an entire news organization and nothing to say.

Jay Rosen on the Term “Blogger”

Jayrosen.jpgWe accosted media critic and journalism professor at NYU Jay Rosen in the hallway at Netroots Nation.

We asked Rosen what he thought of the term “blogger” and how there is not a word to distinguish a journalist who blogs and a numbnut who blogs.

“Blogger will become such a broad term it will lose all meaning,” he told FBLA.

So in five years will “blogger” be synonymous with “writer?” Will telling someone you’re a blogger need the same follow up question as there is for when you tell someone you’re a writer?

Jay Rosen seems to think so.