Process Journalism: Getting it First, While Getting it Right
I couldn’t have said it better myself…”journalism is a sausage factory. It’s messy, but at the end it’s delicious!”
Those words led off the panel, “Process Journalism: Getting it First, While Getting it Right.”
It was a discussion of the ability to break news stories using technology, using social media and using citizen journalists. Jesus Diaz of Gizmodo, Moka Panteges of Wikimedia, Monica Guzman of seattlepi and Robert Mackey of the New York Times spoke about using all three sources to do some really good journalistic work. It was their point that you need to use all three of these concepts to be the all-encompassing journalistic outlet.
All three aspects intertwine and every panelist had a great way of discussing how to use them for journalistic purposes. Robert Mackey used the example of covering the recent protests in Iran. He noted that Iran has a good amount of bloggers and citizen journalists. When the NYT used these sources, they were very transparent and pushed the fact that the NYT was having a “conversation” about the what was on the web concerning the protests. For Mackey it is about using the web to find clues and there are multiple clues out there to find! For example, he found clues about the validity of protest video on youtube by looking at street signs in the video and then checking them using google maps. He also believes that user and reader comments are extremely important. Those comments are usually from people who are passionate about a subject and know a ton about it. Those comments help to verify clues on the web.
For Monica Guzman, Twitter has become an incredible tool. “It’s one voice to make up many voices. It takes many voices to make up a story,” said Guzman. When Seattlepi covered a citywide murder story, the Twitter feed from those in the city became an incredible source of clues to the story. The tweet is a starting point and the journalist needs to use common sense. However, Guzman shows that citizen journalists do good work. They want to be reliable and in this instance, citizen journalists would correct themselves if there was a mistake. “People have always been police scanner junkies,” said Guzman. “Now when there’s a crime, they tweet about it.”
Moka Panteges discussed how Wikipedia is changing the world of the “overall story.” Wikipedia entries become a dynamic articles that expand over time. She understands that a Wikipedia article is not original reporting, but it is a real time aggregation of the news. The numbers for Wikipedia are astounding. There are 365 million unique visitors a month, with 15 millions articles in over 270 languages. That’s a ton of eyeballs looking, editing and discussing posted topics. Wikipedia puts an event into context. It is the nature of the wiki-beast that over time the article becomes clearer and more accurate. It’s a technology that needs to be understood. While it is not a source, it is a starting place of real time news gathering.
It was Jesus Diaz who really brought it all together. As a blogger, he broke the story about Steve Jobs and his deteriorating health. As a blogger, he got a tip, he checked his sources, he broke the story, wrote it with journalistic integrity and then…got slammed for not being a journalist. To be honest, it did not matter; he had the story. Here are two great write-ups! I highly recommend reading the original blog post.
Thanks to Diaz, it is a perfect example of blogging beating the journalism elite. It is time to recognize that blogs and citizen journalism do exist and they can do a damn good job!
Overall, the panel was incredible, as actual working journalists showed incredible examples of technology, social media and citizen journalism changing the face of journalism. I think I see a crack in the ivory tower.
Oh if you want to check out the slides and information used…. Bit.ly/processjournalism More great stuff from Jesus Diaz in the slides!