IDEO is a multi-disciplinary design firm. They’ve designed products for Apple, TiVo, and even NCR. They have patents, they’ve won awards, they have smart people as “Fellows” as part of their firm. It’s the kind of firm that you hire to answer the questions about your product or service you don’t even know to ask. Blue sky type ideas lead to very real, concrete solutions.
When Peter Drucker said “companies should worry less about improving what they do and more about whether they ought to be doing it in the first place” the people who would give you a really good answer work at IDEO.
We could even hire them to tell us what Dayton should look like, or what we could be, and get a pretty interesting answer- for a lot of money- that we’d probably ignore because they wouldn’t include the Wright Brothers, John Patterson or Charles Kettering in the answer.
So, when I ran across their interpretation of what the “journalism of the future” would look like- I was interested, and you should be too, because it will include you. You will be a large part of the information stream that will be all around us, all the time.
Journalism is more like having a conversation. People speak with unique voices, take ownership of content, and establish credibility, which in turn enables strong communities in which news can thrive. Anything that’s notable to a person in a particular moment and place becomes newsworthy.
This future journalism is less beholden to current models of production, distribution, and advertising support–but nimble brands still find ways to thrive. Formerly obscure companies, like Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Wikipedia–now household names–are joined by other powerful companies in a network of touchpoints that lets us find the information we want as soon as we want it. News is supported by a web of contributions from consumers, for-profits, nonprofits, distribution partners, and other entities. Rather than eschewing risk and possible failure, brands (at least the ones that endure) shift from a top-down model of centralized distribution to become incubators for journalistic experiments.
There is one thing that they don’t really touch upon in the article however, and it’s something that I believe is critical in this new conversation: respect.
Why will the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal outlast the other journalism outlets? Respect. Not just of the readers, for giving factual, honest, well written and researched news, but- respect for the reader. It’s a two-way street. To earn time from readers, writers (including this one) must respect the readers and provide value- not just valuable information, but a value of integrity. If we don’t trust you, just like Chicken Little, we stop hearing your message.
If we’re looking at why the Dayton Daily News and the three “TV news” stations are failing us, it’s because they don’t respect their subject matter anymore. The “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality has given us little of substance to think about for the last, oh, 20 years. We can read the police blotter elsewhere now- and see exactly who is in jail with just a quick click on a site. Without higher level discussion, thoughts, ideas, investigations, the local news has lost its value to the readers- and as other news distribution methods gain effectiveness- advertisers now have options to ignore the old media.
However, if you’re looking for higher level contributions from readers of the DDN, don’t hold your breath: there is no way of carrying on an educated conversation on their site. No users earn respect, because there is no verification of the identity of the contributors.Bill Pote at Dayton Most Metro recently called for the end of the unverified comments online. He’s right on the money. Many of us wondered what had happened to journalistic integrity when they began the “Speak up” comments on the editorial page- sans signatures ages ago.
If the key to journalism is inclusion, the Dayton Daily News has shown us the worst possible way to do it. They’ve also focused on all our flaws for way too long. After a while, people and even entire cities, tire of being treated to a constant barrage of negativity and stupidity. It’s time for regime change at the Dayton Daily. We want our newspaper back, or don’t include our city’s name in your masthead. Bad news for the news, we’re the bigger part of the community, and we don’t need you anymore if you won’t shape up.
And a little kicker from the NYT R&D group: