Solutions Journalism – some links

I’m trying to catch up with recent discussions about ‘solutions journalism’ – here are a few links:

A good piece to read all these against is the short entry on Journalism in the ‘New Liberal Arts’ ebook put together by the guys at Snarkmarket.

A couple of key quotes:

Journalism was once defined as “what professional journalists do.” Today, journalism can be re-described as a community’s conversations with itself. The role of the journalist can be re-imagined as facilitating that conversation. Effective journalism will amplify a community’s questions about how well it’s doing and help find answers.

And also…

Journalism becomes the story of how a society optimizes itself. It creates an ever-evolving record of how the society is functioning, so citizens can amplify their successes, improve their inefficiencies, and fix their mistakes. Once thought of as “the first draft of history,” journalism drafts the blueprint for an ever-changing present. It brings together the best information we have to evaluate our choices and adjust our course.

Journalism is described as ‘the art of the now’… Which is, well, revealing and interesting.


The idea behind my Reading List posts

I’ve been reading Clay Johnson’s ‘The Information Diet’ recently. His central analogy – the idea that we are over-consuming information the way we over-consume food – works as a way to get your attention though it is rather over-extended.

That said, Jonson’s general point – that we need to think more carefully about media consumption – is hard to argue with.

For example, I’ve become a bit troubled by the habit I’ve fallen into with Instapaper. In theory, this fantastic tool is supposed to help you consume online media more effectively and efficiently – it strips out ads, save the text for later when you can focus on it etc.

In practice, it doesn’t seem to work quite like that, at least not for me. I use Instapaper to save loads of things to read during the day – I find stuff via Twitter, Google Reader, Zite – but I never really get round to actually reading them – probably because I save too much.

So all I really know from all the pieces I save is what I pick up from scanning them quickly when I first encounter them and am trying to work out if I should save them to Instapaper.

So my idea with the ‘reading list’ post is to go back through my unread Instapaper stuff, pull out pieces around a particular theme and actually make time to read (and think about) in the following week and then write a post summarising what I learned.

That’s the plan anyway. Let’s see if it works.

Reading List – Viral/Spreadable Media and Journalism

A few things I’m planning to read this week, on the subject of viral media and journalism. In theory, I’m going to write a follow-post in about a week about what I’ve learned: