The lost promise of journalism

Continuing the Marshall/Flipboard thread, there seems to be a bunch of epiphany happening among NY-based journalists re the publishing platforms of the tech industry.

Check out this piece by Michele Filgate on Salon about her experience quitting Twitter.

Then check out this piece by Philip Bump on the Atlantic site about how Twitter is ruining America.

Summary: Sources go direct.

I think the changes are good, to the extent that it causes the smart people in journalism to be challenged to remake their craft in the new context.

It keeps journalists from drifting off into the land of the savvy (a term to thank Jay Rosen for). You can get that for free, in great quantity, on Twitter.

The complaints of the sources are legitimate. If arm’s length and dumbed-down is the best we can do by going through journalism, then we have to do it for ourselves.

There are so many limits on the kinds of ideas that can make it through the press filter. The thing to do is to blow that up, and do better storytelling of the sophisticated ideas and the ideas that the sources don’t want told. Focus on communicating what’s; important. So many have given up. It’s the lost promise of journalism.

So it’s good that Twitter is ruining America. When a big tree falls there’s lots of light for new growth. We could build a new one, smarter, with the discipline of knowing that new ideas can get out there without any help from journalism. That frees up journalism to do what only it can do.

PS: There’s also this piece by Justin Rosenstein, an Asana co-founder, that I fully agree with. We can do much better with software. And we have, but it’s mostly going unused. I think this is where the next layer of the net comes from.

PPS: I think Nick Denton probably sees this future pretty clearly, and I think the Washington Post, under Jeff Bezos, will probably have some good ideas quickly.


About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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