posts about or somewhat related to ‘Jay Rosen’

‘Never has it been so easy to expose an error, check a fact, crowdsource and bring technology to bear in service of verification.’

Craig Silverman, Nieman Reports. A New Age for Truth

This is all very true and we recommend reading what he has to say.

Unfortunately, we also recommend reading Jay Rosen’s recent article, If Mitt Romney were running a “post-truth” campaign, would the political press report it? 

His answer, unsurprisingly, is no, no it wouldn’t.

How to Cover Wicked Problems →

In Jay Rosen’s keynote to the UK Conference of Science Journalists, he differentiates between tame problems and wicked problems. 

Tame Problem:

Here is a problem that anyone who has lived in New York City must wonder about: it’s impossible to get a cab at 5 pm. The cause is not a mystery: taxi drivers tend to change shifts around 4 to 5 pm. Too many cabs are headed to garages in Queens because when a taxi is operated by two drivers 24 hours a day, a fair division of shifts is to switch over at 5 o’clock. Now this is a problem for the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, it may even be a hard one to solve, but it is not a wicked problem. For one thing, it’s easy to describe, as I just showed you. That right there boots it from the category.

Wicked Problem:

It is hard to say what the problem is, to define it clearly or to tell where it stops and starts. There is no “right” way to view the problem, no definitive formulation. There are many stakeholders, all with their own frames, which they tend to see as exclusively correct. Ask what the problem is and you will get a different answer from each. Someone can always say that the problem is just a symptom of another problem and that someone will not be wrong. The problem is inter-connected to a lot of other problems; pulling them apart is almost impossible. In a word: it’s a mess.

But it gets worse. Every wicked problem is unique, so in a sense there is no prior art and solving one won’t help you with the others. No one has “the right to be wrong,” meaning enough legitimacy and stakeholder support to try things that will almost certainly fail, at first. Instead failure is savaged, and the trier is deemed unsuitable for another try. The problem keeps changing on us. It is never definitely resolved. Instead, we just run out of patience, or time, or money, or political will. It’s not possible to understand the problem first, then solve it. Rather, attempts to solve it reveal further dimensions of the problem. (Which is the secret of success for people who are “good” at wicked problems.)

Know any problems like that? Of course you do. Climate change! What could be more inter-connected than it? How the hell do we define it? Is it the burning of fossil fuels? Is it modernization? Capitalism? Externalities? The whole system of states? Man’s false dominion over nature? Someone can always say that climate change is just a symptom of another problem– our entire way of life, maybe — and he or she would not be wrong. We’ve never solved anything like it before, so there’s no prior art. Stakeholders: everyone on the planet, every nation, every company.

Another Wicked Problem: that public schools in the U.S. don’t work.

Keep reading to find out more. But if you want to skip straight to his 10 ways of imagining how a “wicked problems beat” might work, see these:

1. It would be a network, not a person.

2. The beat would be pattern-based.

3. A classic narrative stands at the heart of the beat.

4. The beat would be global because wicked problems are a global phenomenon.

5. The wicked problems beat can’t rely on experts.

6. The “stars” of the beat would be people all over the world who seem to be good at wicked problems.

7. The beat would treat denial as a news story.

8. The wicked problems beat would be a learning machine.

9. The beat would have a goal, a mission.

FJP: The article is worth wrapping your mind around, especially because Rosen’s imagined beat depends a lot on networked thinking and looking in less than likely places for sources. It can’t be dependent on “authorized knowers” says Rosen, which, in an entirely different way, is similar to the transition regular old journalism is going through as well—this search for sources through networks, and unlikely public voices and experts.

But of course, another wicked problem: how to fund and sustain a vigorous public service press (that can tackle both tame problems and wicked problems).

General news is not relevant to young people because they don’t have context. It’s a lot of abstract storytelling and arguing among adults that makes no sense. So most young people end up consuming celebrity news. To top it off, news agencies, for obvious reasons, are trying to limit access to their content by making you pay for it. Well, guess what: Young people aren’t going out of their way to try to find this news, so you put up one little wall, and poof, done. They’re not even going to bother.

Said (Microsoft researcher) Danah Boyd, addressing why young people aren’t following traditional, regular news.

FJP: Can’t help but think of this, for one thing. Also, if you’re interested: Jonathan Stray on making news immersive.

via Poynter.

jayrosen:

How long would you give the “we have no idea who’s right” style in journalism?
Jeremy W. Peters, The Right’s Blogger Provocateur, New York Times, June 26, 2011.

The stories and videos Mr. Breitbart plays up on his Web sites, which include Big Government, Big Journalism and Big Hollywood, tend to act as political Rorschach tests. If you agree with him, you think what he does is citizen journalism. If you don’t, his work is little more than crowd-sourced political sabotage that freely distorts the facts.

Jeremy W. Peters, Andrew Breitbart, Conservative Blogger, Dies at 43, New York Times, yesterday.

Mr. Breitbart was as polarizing as he was popular. On the political right he was hailed in the same breath with Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge as a truth-teller who exposed bias and corruption. On the left, he was derided by many as a provocateur who played fast and loose with the facts to further his agenda.

I’ve been thinking about this kind of passage a lot lately, what with NPR officially backing away from the “he said, she said” style of reporting. Here, I just want to make one observation.
The logic of the “we have no idea who’s right” report involves a flight to safety. Confronted with a figure of controversy, for whom there are many knives drawn, the safe choice is to do the Rorschach thing. “Each side sees what they want.” What the story-teller sees is that: two radically incommensurate views. 
But at a certain point in the public decay of that style, the equation flips around. The once “safe” choice becomes the riskier option. That point is reached when enough people begin to mistrust viewlessness and demand to know what the writer thinks, even though they also know that they may not agree.
For those people, the “Rorschach” device scans as cluelessness or arrogance, or both. The very risk to reputation that the author wanted to avoid by refusing to stake a truth claim is brought on by… refusing to make a truth claim! Which doesn’t mean that the remedy is to “choose sides.” It’s harder than that. One actually has to make sense and nail things down.
And to make it even trickier, who really knows when this flip-over point has been reached?
(Photo by Mark Taylor, Creative Commons License.)

jayrosen:

How long would you give the “we have no idea who’s right” style in journalism?

Jeremy W. Peters, The Right’s Blogger Provocateur, New York Times, June 26, 2011.

The stories and videos Mr. Breitbart plays up on his Web sites, which include Big Government, Big Journalism and Big Hollywood, tend to act as political Rorschach tests. If you agree with him, you think what he does is citizen journalism. If you don’t, his work is little more than crowd-sourced political sabotage that freely distorts the facts.

Jeremy W. Peters, Andrew Breitbart, Conservative Blogger, Dies at 43, New York Times, yesterday.

Mr. Breitbart was as polarizing as he was popular. On the political right he was hailed in the same breath with Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge as a truth-teller who exposed bias and corruption. On the left, he was derided by many as a provocateur who played fast and loose with the facts to further his agenda.

I’ve been thinking about this kind of passage a lot lately, what with NPR officially backing away from the “he said, she said” style of reporting. Here, I just want to make one observation.

The logic of the “we have no idea who’s right” report involves a flight to safety. Confronted with a figure of controversy, for whom there are many knives drawn, the safe choice is to do the Rorschach thing. “Each side sees what they want.” What the story-teller sees is that: two radically incommensurate views. 

But at a certain point in the public decay of that style, the equation flips around. The once “safe” choice becomes the riskier option. That point is reached when enough people begin to mistrust viewlessness and demand to know what the writer thinks, even though they also know that they may not agree.

For those people, the “Rorschach” device scans as cluelessness or arrogance, or both. The very risk to reputation that the author wanted to avoid by refusing to stake a truth claim is brought on by… refusing to make a truth claim! Which doesn’t mean that the remedy is to “choose sides.” It’s harder than that. One actually has to make sense and nail things down.

And to make it even trickier, who really knows when this flip-over point has been reached?

(Photo by Mark Taylor, Creative Commons License.)

Are NPR's new ethics guidelines the way for journalism organizations to handle themselves? NYU journalism deep-thinker Jay Rosen thinks so. →

shortformblog:

With these words, NPR commits itself as an organization to avoid the worst excesses of “he said, she said” journalism. It says to itself that a report characterized by false balance is a false report. It introduces a new and potentially powerful concept of fairness: being “fair to the truth,” which as we know is not always evenly distributed among the sides in a public dispute.

Maintaining the “appearance of balance” isn’t good enough, NPR says. “If the balance of evidence in a matter of controversy weighs heavily on one side…” we have to say so. When we are spun, we don’t just report it. “We tell our audience…” This is spin! 

shortformblog: Rosen took a particular liking to lines like these: “Our goal is not to please those whom we report on or to produce stories that create the appearance of balance, but to seek the truth.” Read NPR’s ethics guidelines and consider it for yourself.

(Source: shortformblog)

How to Avoid Obesity

Information obesity, that is. Clay Johnson sums it up quite well in this LA Times piece.

The problem is that these days you can feast on information as never before, and you can do it without leaving the living room couch. But consuming too much of the wrong kind of information can lead to a kind of information obesity as dangerous as that caused by too much of the wrong kinds of food.

Just as we know we should curb the cookies and high fructose corn syrup, Johnson suggests we construct healthy info diets for ourselves.

We eat a lot of junk food because it is cheap and tastes good and we haven’t trained our taste buds differently. Well, your information diet is as important to your general well-being as your food diet. Building a healthy information diet can give you more time, strengthen your social relationships and reduce your stress levels.

This would be a good time to check out what the experts do, like in The Atlantic Wire Media Diet series, or revisit Chao’s video piece on Jay Rosen’s news diet

For those who don’t trust social news aggregators, while building your diet and picking tools, check out topheadlin.es, a new app-in-progress from the Wall Street Journal’s Jeremy Singer-Vine. (Via Nieman)

In the same way that services like News.me, Zite, or our own Fuego aggregate social news judgments (like Twitter patterns) or personal news judgments (like user behavior), topheadlin.es aggregates editorial news judgments.

Happy dieting (& feel free to let us know how it goes)! 

Reflections: My Time in Studio 20

 I wrote a reflection of my time at NYU’s Studio 20 program with  Jay Rosen. If you are looking at grad programs in journalism, give  it a read.  I’m here for any questions you might have. 

@cli6cli6, @the_FJP 

use the ‘ask me anything’ feature on tumblr

What If Journalists Stopped Trying to Be Political Insiders? →

dominickbrady:

Jay Rosen, the astute press critic, is giving a speech today about the problematic ways the political press covers presidential campaigns. It’s a subject a lot of folks have addressed over the years, so it’s impressive that he’s added value to the conversation.

Raising hand: It would be a gazallion times better.

Liking this:

In politics, our journalists believe, it is better to be savvy than it is to be honest or correct on the facts. It’s better to be savvy than it is to be just, good, fair, decent, strictly lawful, civilized, sincere, thoughtful or humane. Savviness is what journalists admire in others. Savvy is what they themselves dearly wish to be. (And to be unsavvy is far worse than being wrong.)

(via seeyoulaterguys-deactivated2011)

CNN’s “Let’s Leave it There” Problem

Via Jay Rosen:

The problem is this: CNN thinks of itself as the “straight down the middle” network, the non-partisan alternative, the one that isn’t Left and isn’t Right. But defining itself as “not MSNBC” and “not Fox” begs the question of what CNN actually is. To the people who run it, the answer is obvious: real journalism! That’s what CNN is. Or as they used to say, “the news is the star.”

Right. But too often, on-air hosts for the network will let someone from one side of a dispute describe the world their way, then let the other side describe the world their way, and when the two worlds, so described, turn out to be incommensurate or even polar opposites, what happens?… CNN leaves it there. Viewers are left stranded and helpless. The network appears to inform them that there is no truth, only partisan bull. Is that real journalism? No. But it is tantalizingly close to the opposite of real journalism. Repeat it enough, and this pattern threatens to become the network’s brand, which is exactly what Stewart was pointing out…

…Meaning: You can’t keep “leaving it there” and claim to be the one dedicated to real journalism. You can’t have a “he said, she said” brand and yet stand out as the quality network. That doesn’t work. But it’s easy to delude yourself into thinking that it kinda sorta works because journalists in the U.S. are trained to believe that “not ideological” means…. good!

Somewhat related: Way, way back in 2009 Michael Hirschorn summed up the decade for New York Magazine by observing that we live in “a media age that lacks a central authority to referee reality.”

The observation was neutral and intended as a starting point to explore how we win and lose in a roiling media landscape where there’s no longer a there, there.

Which is precisely where Rosen (and Jon Stewart in the video) contends CNN leaves things.