In a fine keynote talk by David Robinson I was particularly struck by his description of aggregators (a term he finds less than satisfying) as “asset managers.”
Matthew Hurst noted that content creation is now associated with individuals, not institutions. He also pointed out that data tools such as those he was demonstrating allow consumers to test the assertions of journalists.
Kevin Anderson, a huge Twitter fan, discussed its uses in both social and journalistic situations. He also noted that social networking tools can allow a user to explore a Web site through someone else’s eyes (e.g. seeing what your friends are reading).
Dave Blei explained some of his work uncovering and organizing hidden topical patterns in text. He looked at Daily Kos and Red State to see what topics are found in each and how they differ from each other. He also used dynamic analysis to see how words we use in similar ways change over time. Moving from the 19th century to the 21st we saw words such as “machine,” “engine,” and “steam” replaced by “device” and “silicon.” He also said that he felt it seems like you need someone with expertise in front of these kinds of tools.
JD Lasica made some predictions for the future, which included continued trivialization of news by traditional media, the demise of half of all dailies within 15 years (yikes!), and the rise of opinion, aggregators, niche, and hyperlocal news. He also suggested some approaches for news organizations, which included viewing news as a process or service, not as a finished product.
Ed Tenner discussed the softening of respect for professional journalism and noted some principles for news organizations to follow:
- Emphasise your comparative advantage
- The best new ideas will come from the “outside in.”
He also thought the best source of hope is the possible reversibility of online advertising trends – “what goes down, can come up.”