Monday, December 11, 2006

El periodismo open

John F Harris

...Yo debía estar comprando regalitos de navidad... pero, encontré tan interesante esta entrevista a John Harris, por Jay Rosen de PressThink, que aquí me tienen comentándola.

En pocas palabras, John Harris, el editor político del Washington Post, y Jim Vandehei, un corresponsal estrella, dejan el diario... Washington Post para iniciar una nueva publicación.... multiplataforma, que estaría financiada por Allbritton Communications.

ámonos un momento... dos periodistas políticos estrellas abandonan sus empleos seguros y bien remunerados en una de las torres de marfil del periodismo político americano... ¿Qué está pasando...? Ya habíamos discutido anteriormente los cambios que traería el nuevo paradigma de opensource... donde la gratuidad del nuevo software permitiría nuevos espacios... y cambios fundamentales... en la autoridad de los que manejan la información. Pero, ¿tan pronto? Así parece...

Como muestra transcribo el siguiente par de párrafos de la incisiva entrevista de Rosen a Harris:
John Harris: We live in an entreprenurial age, not an institutional one. That’s been true of many professions for quite a while, and increasingly (and perhaps somewhat belatedly) it is true of journalism. The people having the most satisfying careers, it seems to me, are those who create a distinct signature for their work—who add value to the public conversation through their individual talents—rather than relying mostly on the reputation and institutional gravity of the organization they work for. In your own way, you are an example of this with PressThink.

John Harris: I have long puzzled over a phenomenon about many reporters, one that I am sure is true for me also. They tend to be more interesting in conversation than they are to read in the paper. I think one reason for that is that the typical newspaper story continues to be written with a kind of austere, voice-of-God detachment. This muffles personality, humor, accumulated insight—all the reasons reporters tend to be fun to talk to. When it’s appropriate—not in every story but in many—we’ll try to loosen the style and in the process tell readers more about what we know, what we think, and why we think it.

John Harris: We will, however, put experimenting with different ways of storytelling on the Web at the center of our thinking and daily routines. Jim and I are hardly Web experts, and know enough about what we don’t know that we won’t even try to sound avante-garde. But we will be working with people who know a lot. Over time, these people will help take us into interesting and I hope even uncharted territory.

We had experience with the potential of this kind of story-telling at the Post (where Jim Brady at and others have done good work pushing the newsroom to think anew.) VandeHei and another reporter hit the road in September for a trip through several competitive districts in the Ohio River Valley. They had a videographer with them. They filed dispatches for the paper and for a blog on the Web. They produced video dispatches, did radio interviews, and answered questions from readers on-line. None of those things alone is novel, but doing them in combination—especially if it becomes a matter of routine—is a pretty abrupt departure from how things work at most newspapers. While the Post likes this kind of experimentation, it is never going to be central to the daily mission; The task of putting out the traditional newspaper is how people organize their day and their thinking.

We have a chance to start from scratch so we can organize ourselves differently.

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