Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Comment on Lavrusik "Newspapers Are Still Dying" Mashable Piece

by Jeff Stanger

In a comment on a mashable.com piece by Vadim Lavrusik, "Newspapers Are Still Dying, But the News Is Not Going Anywhere"...


CDI wrote:

Great piece. I particularly like this: "Newspaper companies that continue to treat their websites as a dumping ground for news from their print product will meet their eventual demise." To readers here, this almost seems like an obvious statement. But I'd generalize this observation to all storytellers, all informers, all people or organizations who know something or find something out and need to tell others about it. News organizations aren't the only storytellers out there, and while we might criticize them sometimes for not being more innovative, I'd argue that they are indeed THE BEST when it comes to creating new modes of digitally-native storytelling.

At the newly formed Center for Digital Information we're concerned with another set of storytellers -- research organizations -- including policy think tanks, foundations, government agencies, nonprofits and educational institutions. Collectively, they invest billions on doing highly consequential research to inform policymaking and public understanding on critical issues. But they haven't begun to change the modes they use to tell their stories. I maintain that they need to start using the same interactive techniques and platforms that journalistic organizations are in reporting news. To date, research organizations have only used new technology to *distribute* static text and PDFs. "Click here to download the complete report" dominates. What if news organizations did that in this age? "Click here to download today's print newspaper in PDF form." Their demise would be immediate, not eventual. But that's precisely what most research organizations do.

So to fit my needs, I'd commandeer your sentence and rewrite it slightly:

"Any storyteller, in any arena (news, research, policy, etc.) that continues to treat its website as a dumping ground for a print product will meet its eventual demise."

Although news online could perhaps be more innovative, other storytellers could learn a lot from what digital journalism has accomplished.

I've written several posts about these issues, and why it matters, here: http://digitalinfo.org/notebook/

Comments welcome...