Recently my friend and coworker Arpit Mathur passed along a critique of journalism’s sorry state using the leaked iPhone story as evidence.
The sad thing is that we might be amidst some kind of golden age for journalism and are largely unawares.
For evidence, visit sites and services like ProPublica, NPR.org, McClatchyDC, THe Center for Investigative Reporting, Global Voices, Mother Jones, Global Post.
Separate from these organizations are independents who are putting it on the line every day just for passion.
And then there are aggregators like Arts & Letters Daily to help navigate it all and organizations like Media Mobilizing to help empower acts of journalism to be created.
In Philadelphia some investors just made a large bet that Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com, part of this city’s infrastructure of journalism has a promising future.
For impact consider what it took to write the “Tainted” Justice” series in the Daily News or “Justice Delayed, Dismissed, Denied” in the Inquirer.
Recently Clay Shirky spoke of the importance of organizations like the Inquirer and Daily News (The Boston Globe in this case) in reporting the Boston Catholic Church abuse scandal.
The news ecosystem is evolving and Philadelphia matters as a testbed for the rest of the nation.
For more examples of this consider the following list of Philadelphia independents, non-profits, for-profits, and organizations: NEPhilly.com, OurPhiladelphia, Philadelphia Neighborhoods, The Frankford Gazette, The Broad Street Review, WHYY, thenotebook, Phawker, Philebrity, Citypaper, Philadelphia Weekly, The Philadelphia New Media Hub, Technically Philly, and the yearly Bar Camp NewsInnovation Philadelphia. And then there is the ever growing quality list covering the arts, food, and sports, way too many too mention in this space.
J-Lab, The Institute for Interactive Journalism, recently published a report on Philadelphia’s news landscape and made some recommendations. Check it out.
Programmers and Journalists are realizing common motivations and many journalists have been thinking about computing in whole new ways that relate to their work.
There are threats. It is harder for acts of journalism we need to know, but are not aware of it, to reach us. The old economic models that have supported it have crumbled. Changes in technology and culture have brought upheaval and amidst that upheaval those with power will abuse that power when not watched. The constraints on our attention and business pressures on those to breach it are huge. It’s important to lay out these threats because they get to core issues having to do with the infrastructure required for acts of journalism to be produced and be effective.
But to re-emphasize my point – there are many organizations and individuals who are doing it today. In some cases have been doing it for years, that we need to somehow amplify among the din.
As a programmer, I recognize this has everything to do with information science, communications, marketing, and development. As a citizen I recognize it has everything to do with our communities, our neighborhoods, cities, our country and navigating the world at large and hopefully making it a better place. One story at a time.
Which makes this a sad moment to note – Bill Moyers has broadcast his last episode of “Bill Moyers Journal” and ended a run of one of the best sources of journalism on television. The Journal will be missed.
NPR.org: “After Four Decades In TV News, Bill Moyers Retires”
NYTimes: “A Breather for Moyers; Next Step Is Unclear”