Chicago Sun-Times lays off all of its photographers

Flat, like pancakes (via Wikimedia Commons)

Flat, like pancakes (via Wikimedia Commons)

First, a link to the story.

The Sun-Times is pushing video and pushing iPhones on its reporters to snap quick pics from the scene. On one level this is a case of a craft pressured by the hyperimmediacy of the Internet.

But it’s also another example of how the low-resolution world of digital media tends to flatten out content, yoking it to metrics, and ultimately to business models that closely monetize what the audience consumes. In the digital realm, content often is made to mirror and reflect – rather than inform – as sites where reconstituted audiences are neither here nor there, to evoke Foucault’s account of what lies between utopia and heterotopia. Speed, efficiency, hyperimmediacy at the expense of craft.


Open interviews: Why not?

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

This Mathew Ingram piece teases out an interesting aspect of journalism’s representational agenda. It concerns the refusal of some journalists to conduct “open interviews” that involve the observation and potential participation of the public.

Is this protectionism or does journalism have a legitimate claim here? It’s the tension itself that’s compelling, because it gets at the heart of what it is to do journalism, at least the way it’s been done for the past century or so. The practice of journalism has an almost sacred relationship to the world of fact, one that’s reflected in the field’s professional code and the law. The open interview appears to undermine this relationship.

At the same time, there are legitimate concerns about interview subjects “playing to the crowd” – or even salting the crowd with supporters. Open interviews also may turn into debates that are about emotion and individual points of view, rather than the surfacing of relevant fact for what may be an important story.

The digital era tugs at journalism’s relationship to the world of fact in many ways, resulting in debates such as this. There’s more to come.

Twitter as social media’s ‘degree zero’

A few rules for the Twitterati, thanks to ReadWriteWeb.

I was kind of blown away by the mention of SocialFlow, which will help maximize the chances of your tweet getting noticed or retweeted. This idea of monitoring conversations among your Twitter followers and then auto-launching your tweet into the fray breaks down the notion of conversation. You are optimizing your chances of being heard, yet in a way you aren’t responding to anyone. You’re kind of a canned commentator. This is more about getting heard than hearing.

Twitter kind of strikes me as social media stripped bare, and I think that allows us to learn a lot from it. It has three primary uses: Conversation, advertising and mobilizing links. If you combine the three, you have social media – and the Internet, for that matter – in a nutshell.

Thoughts on digital adaptation

From TechCrunch, more musings on the end of print and what newspapers must do to adapt to a world of digital news.
I’m mainly posting this for my own benefit, as a reference point. I think adaptation is a more difficult and complex process than starting fresh. But adaptation also is the nature of the web. What other choice do you have when confronted with something so fluid, chaotic and nomadic? What are the economics of the rhizome?