A few weeks ago I met with Charlie Beckett in London and we had a great talk about journalism in the new-media landscape in which he described some of the research initiatives and projects he is involved in as Director of Polis, a journalism think tank at LSE. Back in the States now, I just finished his recently published book SuperMedia: Saving Journalism So It Can Save the World, which I found an impressively thorough and clear-minded assessment of the often pained contemporary evolution of journalism. You can check out several chapters here.
SuperMedia is packed with examples of recent experiments undertaken by journalists and news media organizations, but it’s more than merely descriptive of the current state of affairs. As the title makes clear, SuperMedia is marked by lofty insider ambitions: it’s a manifesto, basically, that plots to save what’s best about journalism. It’s a call to recognize what Beckett hopes will be an enduring connection between public good, human rights and the news.
(Published first on The Huffington Post’s Off the Bus)
The Knight Foundation announced its News Challenge Award winners last week at the Interactive Media Conference in Las Vegas. Sixteen projects will share various portions of this year’s $5.5 million prize. With the News Challenge, Knight aims to fund new-media innovations that “transform community life.” This year’s winners include digital culture all-star Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web, and ten “young creators” or applicants who are less than 25 years old.
Also among the winners was Denver Open Media, a two-year-old independent public access broadcast project. (disclosure: I am a recent addition to the DOM board.) The organization won a two-year $380,000 grant to help share its open-platform business model with stations nationwide, connecting public access stations across the country to create a new-style broadcast network. The small DOM staff trains people to film and edit their programs and upload them to the Web. The programs then play on three local TV stations and on the internet. Viewers can text in ratings and comments on each show. The rating and comments appear onscreen in realtime. Programs that garner the most votes move into the best time slots. Program quality, styles and purposes vary wildly.
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