Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Monday, July 12, 2010

Laying It All Out

You know what. I am tired of people asking me what I want to do with my life and saying uh I don't know. The truth is I do know but its going to take a butt load of time and money, which I don't have right now so its on hold.But here it is. I would like to make a website that updated niche ( and maybe eventually hard) journalism with what could be called an interactive magazine.

I have a few problems with journalism as it is. A lot of it seems tailored to the last generation. So here is what I would do.

I may be wrong but, my general experience is that the current generation primarily dresses up to impress the older generation, but when we talk amongst ourselves we dress far more casually. In doing so on online media it sends a message that those guys are our audience, and creates intimacy with the audience. Lets face it though regardless you are sending a packaged message but in all honestly those guys would be my audience 'cause well,. I am one of them. Beyond that I don't see how wearing a suit creates credibility and it seems to make no sense to me.

It also seems to me that culturally my generation has less of a problem with profanity than the previous one. One thing that has always strongly irritated me, better take my own advice, pissed me off is a story that comments on what someone said and does not include what they said just because it was deemed profane. That is a critical peace of information that should not be left out of the story. Just saying somebody said something bad is not enough. The same goes for opinion.
The same goes for quotes in general.Most people I know who have strong opinions tend to use profanity to express said strong opinion.

This is where it gets weird and journalistic ethics get gray. I want a publication that succeeds because of the personalities of the reporters. Up until now the doctrine in journalism has pretty much been that the reporter should be an objective observer. I do not completely disagree, but its my publication and I want to have fun with it. And ultimately I think that if its evident that the reporters are reporting on what they are knowledgeable, and interested in will result in a more interesting publication, as long as I'm up front about this I see no problem. I always liked the escapist for its letters from the editor. Where each issue of the online magazine has a letter describing the general theme the editor has chosen for the week. By the way the escapist is a online video game magazine. To be honest I like how the escapist does things in general and think that that is where publishing in the 21st century is headed. They have tons of video.

Anyway, I think that we're now in an age were for better or worse people choose their media not just on the information delivered but how it's delivered, and a large part of that deliver comes from the personality of the publication. The problem with all this is that I don't want talking heads.

Here are a few guidelines.

  • The audience is aware that the content of the publications are dramatically driven by it's staff and editor's interests, opinions, and personalities. Like I said I would like to have regular letters, or videos from the editor.
  • As editor, I would have the responsibility of making sure that the reporters, reported on not only what interested them but they were also knowledgeable on so when they had an opinion it could be an informed one, i.e, you do not just make random statements about the story of the day.
  • Ultimately the website may have many different sub areas but it must work together as a whole. This means everyone the team should be able to work with each other when a story calls for it.
  • One reason why this maybe good or bad is that the reporters because of there general interest in the subject matter should want to report more indepthly on it. To put it simply they would know more and care more about the story.
My Generation
A large part of the personality of the paper is that it would talk to my generation. I notice a lot of differences between my generation and older generations. We have different perspectives, values, and interests. I'm tired of reading articles that were probably written by 40 somethings about 20 somethings. Even more of a sub niche is that it would be targeted towards nerds. My view of what nerdiness is defined by an intense enthusiasm and knowledge about a specific topic and because of that nerdiness the website could be incredibly varied but also incredibly in depth, as the staff itself would be comprised mainly of nerds. I also happen to believe that as a result of the internet it is easier to become a nerd and because more and more of my generation are... well nerds. If your interested in something its easier to find a torrent of information about it and develop or dig into a community.

Everybody in journalism already knows this but the days of print and print alone are gone. Sure you still need writers, but writers are not going to be enough. If one of the objectives of a publication is to swing out information in a way it can be processed, the publication has to at least look at all the ways that information can be processed and decide what works best for a story. The thing about the written word is that it allows for more detail, but sometimes at the expense of user understanding. In nutshell if its going to work I am going to need video, audio, animation, and graphics. These things not only help compress information in a way where it might be more understandable, but engages the audience and allows them to more quickly determine what stories would they like more information about so that they can make the choice of whether or not they want to read a more in-depth print article.

The web makes this available. Publications (Let me be clear I consider websites publications) can and should have multiple complementary media forms to help explain a story.

Inter Connectivity
In the olden time days of journalism a print story had a lifetime of one day. After that it was literally yesterday's news. That is not the case today and this is one of the main things I think the news world at large does not yet realize.

Stories are more often then not written and packaged in a way that assumes you know the background. The problem is we live in a world of quarterly hour updates. I may not have read that last story, but that's okay because it still exists...somewhere. There is no excuse in this online world of not making relevant stories available. Sure most pages have a few related articles but what about big stories that develop over months. That is not enough The site I know that does this best is the New York Times. They have topics pages, that collect all relevant New York Times media so that when a story is developing its easier for the reader to follow.

There is no excuse for not knowing when someone lies
To take this further I would like to see news organizations take advantage of the
near instantaneous fact checking potential of the web I would love to see in a debate where the moderator has the authority to call bullshit, or an interview where if someone is distorting the truth the interviewer is connected to a fact checking team that will help them get at the truth and also call well... you know. This could be amazing in video where people would be held more accountable for what they said.

Get to the Dataaaaa!
You could also link to the sources of information, which would be awesome, not just for news but for communication in general.We have the technology were we could set a scroll on the side of a video screen, on your computer, that would point to relevant links and graphics.

Think about it. Obama gives a speech where he says according to some study we need to do this. When he says that at the side of your screen would be a link to that study.

What really pisses me off is that youtube, youtube people the video distribution system of the masses already does this, but most major news websites don't.

User Interactivity
We are at an end of an age. The days are over were people just got their media. They want to talk to the people who make it, have a discussion about how it was made, and maybe a little input on how more of it will be made. You can't just give people an article anymore. If it was good they want to respond and they want to you to respond to their response. And the thing is that this is good. It not only shows that the audience is engaged, but may well keep them engaged. On my website I have to have a system for that. I want to reserve a time of day or the week were the reporters will be able to talk to the readers candidly, maybe even through a video digital town hall.

I would also like a place for user generated content. I would really like for this website not just to be about news but a place for people of my generation to congregate, so if people had videos, fiction,animation, or songs that I felt fit the tone of the site I would pay them and publish them, again like the escapist.

A vid from the escapist.

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