An epic #jcarn thread
You gotta understand, this whole thing came out of an epic, epic email thread where we had full-on NERF bat epistemological debate going on about the future of journalism. You weren’t there, but that’s okay, because Steve Fox wrote it up for you.
Once the dust cleared, we had this month’s #JCARN question: In an era of tremendous change in journalism, what should the Online Journalism Awards be rewarding and encouraging?
Denise Cheng says fight the noise:
“Innovation,” the buzzword that never went out of style. Knight Foundation challenges, Y-Combinator knock-offs, J-School-community partnerships… Everyone’s scrambling for it. Innovation is important in expanding our horizons, but as I’ve heard people toss the term around, I’ve realized that we’re often equivocating “innovation” with “play,” not necessarily better ways for the audience to absorb information.”
I agree with Denise here, even as someone whose primary motivators are justice and delight. Delight is a great way to invite people in…but what are you going to do with them once you get them there? Our play must be purposeful.
Donica Mensing speaks for a lot of the tribe when she says:
Perhaps innovative business models should be an entire section of the awards ceremony.
Jessica Binch, too, says show me the money:
I hear the purists screaming: How can you call journalism a product?… [But] I think journalism awards should honor innovative forms to reach audiences and frontier work on finding new revenue streams.
Carrie Brown says, well okay, but:
I think rewarding profitability, as some have suggested, is a little tricky…and I’m not sure a snapshot in time would necessarily represent overall “success.”
Steve Fox says, enough with the shiny, already:
What has really struck me about ONA in recent years, at the conference panels anyway, is the over-focus on technology over journalism. While I love panels on the next new whiz-bang-golly-gee-feature as much as the next person, what we do is journalism.
Steve Outing defends the shiny and goes on to say blessed be the weirdos, and hey, I resemble that remark!
I’d like to see OJA reward the misfits and the tinkerers within journalism. Without them guiding the news industry forward, there will be little great journalism on which to bestow awards.
Tiffany Johnson Watts reminds us that the consistent shall inherit the earth and all its Twinkies:
Consistent coverage: We were all shocked that the National Enquirer was nominated for a Pultizer Prize after breaking the story about John Edwards. While the newspaper’s work was indeed important, we were shocked by their admission because the Enquirer doesn’t consistently deliver that caliber of journalism. Consistency and following-up on stories should be rewarded.
Geoff Samek says show your work:
In math to most students’ annoyance, writing down the correct answer is only good for partial credit, how you got there is really what matters. That principle should be true when it comes to judging criteria for the OJA…The OJAs should focus on journalism that expands the boundaries of journalism and does so online, the final frontier.
Anna Tarkov tells us why great reporting combined with disdain for marketing isn’t going to make the grade anymore:
I was in a local grocery store yesterday and there was a table set up with free copies of that day’s Chicago Sun-Times. I overheard the gentleman manning the table telling a shopper how despite all the newsroom cuts, the paper has still managed to win Pulitzer Prizes and do great reporting. The shopper seemed unimpressed and why should he be? We have got to do better than that.
Michael Morisy channels my main man, Karl Popper, and says, Let’s Do Science To It:
One thing I’ve taken from heading out to a few Lean Startup meetings is to treat initiatives like hypothesis…But like a good scientist, a good online news organization should be fully prepared to make as much use, or even more, use of a negative finding than of a positive one. How are news organizations taking gambles where they have a Heads I Win/Tails You Lose Scenario? These examples should be highlighted to help foster low-cost, sustainable innovation throughout the industry.