Tagged: mediashift

PBS NewsHour Changes – An Insider’s Look

My fiancee and I are big fans of the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. I recognize how geeky this makes us (being “big fans” and all), but we’re pretty dialed in to non-apoplectic news coverage, and we really enjoy the balance and depth of coverage that the NewsHour offers.

We comment on Jim’s usually excellent choice of ties, we tune in on Fridays to catch analysis by Shields and Brooks (and we’re Canadians!), and we hold the NewsHour up as an example of what news coverage should be (along with CBC’s National and BBC’s World Report).

So I read Anna Shoup’s piece on the changes at PBS, and the new iterations of its website, with interest and fascination (found out about the piece courtesy of Will Sullivan’s Journerdism site). It is not often that you get an insider’s candid take on the shifts inside a major media outlet, especially when the insider is a multimedia content producer who is be integrated into the larger media framework. That in itself is a bit of a switch-up from what’s happening in other news rooms.

Ms Shoup’s report suggests a progressive mindset in the NewsHour bullpen, but she’s still open about the grinding gears that sometimes happen when two carefully crafted machines try to mesh. Whether the new media shifts at the NewsHour are a result of progressive thinking – or merely survival – I think is irrelevant. In the current media climate, any steps that do not hold fast to the conventional broadcast model should be seen as progressive, simply because they are not status quo, or (worse) trying to regress to the sunnier times of media monopoly.

Basically, people are consuming the news differently. The NewsHour has always been able to cut through the media static to report solidly on essential issues, and their decision to more fully integrate multimedia elements and web-based pieces into their broadcast model is one that I’ll be watching with interest.

The NewsHour will launch their new website on December 3rd, and the new iteration of the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (re-branded as PBS NewsHour) will debut on December 7th. Perhaps it, like the NewsHour’s coverage itself, will be a litmus test that other news organizations can learn from.

Public Media Comes of Age

As top-down journalism fights to redefine itself in our increasingly-connected media environment, I thought I would highlight two (closely-linked) projects related to Public Media.

Public Media (or, citizen media) has obviously proven its journalistic worth in the last few years, yet still suffers from a lack of mainstream acceptance. These two studies provide some insight on how this may change in the next little while, and which organizations offer best-practices for us all to learn from.

Note that both of these Public Media resources benefit from the deft hand of Jessica Clark, the Future of Public Media Project director, with collaboration from the Center for Social Media’s director, Pat Aufderheide.

The first study is the white paper “Future of Public Media” created by the Center for Social Media at American University. This white paper was created in order to review public media in all its developing forms, platform uses, and structures, and offer some direction for ways forward. An engaging read, and worth checking out, as it advocates a serious look at Public Media and its role in maintaining a vibrant, democratic society.

The second project, found on PBS’s MediaShift site, is a round-up of sorts called “Eight Public Media Projects that are Doing it Right” and highlights (as the title suggests) a variety of new media / news 2.0 sites that are redefining the way news is researched, reported, and consumed. These projects, by their very nature, call into question the rules that have governed mainstream media for decades, and shows how Public Media outlets are finding footholds in the cracking foundation of top-down journalism.

These two reports hopefully show how the democratization of media tools can (and should) lead to the democratization of the media itself. The Pandora’s Box has been opened, and the media’s best hope for survival is found in learning from how (the common) people are consuming, sharing, and yes, creating the news.

Magazines 2.0 – Flyp Media Presents an Example

A little over a week ago, PBS’s MediaShift website carried an interview with Jim Gaines, who is part of the team behind Flyp Media – one of the few, truly online magazines that I’ve encountered (ie: a ‘magazine’ allowing consumers to interact with a story in a variety of ways – through interactive elements, graphics, maps, video, still images, audio pieces, etc.).

Gaines’ interview addresses a lot of the concerns that I’ve heard expressed by magazine professionals over the years, but more importantly, it speaks to an optimism and frontier mentality that is now influencing multimedia journalism – a belief that forms can be blended and hybridized to create truly cross-media narratives. Exciting! Also, a little intimidating for journos frantically adding new skillsets.

As an example of cross-media content, check out Flyp Media’s piece on Yoko Ono and John Baldessari being honoured at the Venice Biennale. This piece combines typical print magazine side-bar elements (such as timelines and backstory pieces) with text, photos, videos, audio and interactive, mouse-over triggers to enrich the content.

While I am wary of touting any media resource as the be-all-end-all, I have been very impressed with Flyp Media’s understanding of our changing media consumption habits, and was pleased to read PBS’s MediaShift interview with Gaines as it offered context to my experience with Flyp.

Check out the interview with Jim Gaines, and then enjoy the piece on Ono and Baldessari.

NOTE: Despite my best intentions, this post began as a long-form essay on the changing nature of print magazines and the history of digital web magazines, my involvement with them, hurdles for the industry, the development of cave painting, time, breathing, etc. I cut out 90% of that rant, but may save it for another time as it all feels relevant but perhaps not critical to this post.