New Journalistic Workflow

This post is a slightly modified/updated version of the post originally published on April 5, 2009:

Jay Rosen tweets:

New method: slow blogging at PressThink, daily mindcasting at Twitter, work room at FriendFeed. Example: post in gestation

This is how I understand that:

Step 1 is mindcasting on Twitter (often misunderstood for time-wasting lifecasting, e.g., this).

Step 2 is aggregation of a number of imported tweets and digestion of them on a platform like GooglePlus, Facebook or FriendFeed.

Step 3 is aggregation of several G+/FB/FF threads into a more coherent blog post.

The next step, Step 4, could potentially be to aggregate the ideas and knowledge from several blog posts and publish as an article in the traditional media outlets.

I can think of even Step 5 – aggregating a number of media articles into a book.

Traditional journalists would call only Step 4 and Step 5 ‘journalism’. New journalists would call all of these steps ‘journalism’.

Differences between traditional and new media, if looking at the process in this way?

1) all steps are transparent and visible to all (instead of privately jotted notes in a moleskin or post-it notes).

2) all steps involve other people who provide continuous feedback and provide additional sources, documents or expertise.

3) depending on the topic or personal proclivities, one can stop at any step, 1,2,3,4 or 5, and whatever is done so far is still journalism.

Web provides sufficient time, space and communication technologies to do it this way, while paper/radio/TV restrict how much one can be transparent, public, collaborative, responsive to feedback and what is deemed worthy of the word “journalism”. Half-baked articles cannot count in such an expensive and restricted system, but can – and can be very useful – in the new medium.

Also, these steps are platform-neutral:

Step 1 is easily done on Twitter, but other Twitter-like platforms can do the same thing. One can do the same even on places like Delicious, Stumbleupon, Digg, Reddit, Fark, Slashdot or Metafilter. Or even on a blog – this is what bloggers have been doing – quick links and one-liners many times a day – for years before any of those other platforms were invented. One can also do it on Facebook since it introduced the relevant functionalities. Also worth noting is that having this service on one’s mobile device allows for reporting from the scene, i.e., for “breaking news” as I defined here (see all the responses to that post aggregated – Step 2 – on FriendFeed).

Step 2 also can be done elsewhere, though FriendFeed was really suitable for it – aggregating and getting feedback. Google Plus seems to be the best for it now, though Facebook is fine as well. One’s blog is a perfectly good place for it, too.

Step 3 is usually done on a blog, but I can see how it can be done on any other platform that allows for longer pieces.

If one wants to go on to Step 4 or Step 5, one needs to pitch the work to a corporate media entity, probably all online in the future, and get an editorial approval as well as the services of a professional editor for spelling, punctuation, grammar and style. The editor, an expert on the process but not as expert as you are, not even close, on the topic of the piece, should not have a say on the content, but may choose to have it evaluated by other experts (‘peer-review’ of sorts) before accepting the piece.


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