Reducing Information Pollution
News reporter — that’s just about the worst job you can have, right? According to one career site, it ranks dead last, behind pest-control worker and logger. The pay is paltry, the opportunities few and the prospects for advancement dim.
But here they come: the fresh-faced graduates of journalism, media and communications schools, emerging into a brave new workforce where message bots have replaced glue pots, where truth is distorted, facts undervalued, and where success sometimes seems reduced to a numbers game about who gets the most clicks. Oh, yes, and into a world where press freedoms are under siege and where many newsrooms have been cut by half.
AP is not done rocking the journalism world with style changes.
The following guidance went out on the AP wire Wednesday: “Effective May 1, the AP will spell out state names in the body of stories.” You will still use abbreviations in datelines, photo captions, lists, etc.
The change “also applies to newspapers cited in a story,” the guidance says. “For example, a story datelined Providence, R.I., would reference the Providence Journal, not the Providence (R.I.) Journal.” (For what it’s worth, you don’t have to call that jurisdiction the “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” Rhode Island works fine.)
Algorithms producing journalism? What might sound like a futuristic setting is already becoming reality.
Journalistic texts are characterised by a certain structure that algorithms can be programmed to imitate. The first tests still read or sound like early prototypes, but they’re already around in sports journalism, with finance or local news to come next.
Media Literacy is a boring phrase to describe an exciting issue. When we held a debate on it tempers became frayed, passions ran high and voice were raised in a way that is usually associated with hot political topics. Why?
It’s because there are a lot of people out there who think that the new communications tools are revolutionizing our lives in wonderful ways. There are also a lot of people who feel disturbed, excluded, threatened and even abused by the process. This is not the old Geek versus Dinosaur argument. This is a much more interesting debate about how human beings fit into media change.
Following my talk in Singapore last month, I’d like to delve deeper into the question about what newspaper publishers outside the United States can do to avoid the market meltdown that’s already claimed a few papers in the U.S…. and endangers the survival of many more.
This advice applies not just to newspaper publishers outside the United States, but to all news publishers, including online start-ups and still-profitable U.S. papers, who haven’t yet had to resort to crippling staff or feature cutbacks to remain in the black.
Since one of the major media industry stories of the year has been the extended verbal assault initiated by Rupert Murdoch against Google News and other content aggregators for their “wholesale misappropriation” and “theft” of news stories from his newspaper sites, perhaps it’s time to evaluate how much leverage Murdoch and other media execs have in their battle against the search giant.