Earlier this month, I asked for thoughts on the most influential media of the year. (Here are the lists from 2007 and 2008; [edit: and thoughts on Chicago-specific 2009 media happenings.) The following is a summation of what I heard. Thanks to everyone for sharing– [here’s my list for the year.]
The most significant media event of 2009 wasn’t Barack Obama’s inauguration or Tiger Wood’s fall from grace, but Michael Jackson’s death. Twitter reports and TMZ drove the coverage. Jay Smooth collected a set of links on Jackson, and posted this commentary about “the mix of deep human connection and weird media circus.”
2009 saw lots of discussion about the challenges of journalism, in case you missed it. Several high-profile reports were mentioned:
- The Reconstruction of American Journalism, by Len Downie and Michael Schudson, via Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
- The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy: Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age. From the Executive Summary/Conclusion.
- The Media Consortium’s The Big Thaw: Charting a New Course for Journalism, penned by Tony Deifell.
- Public Media 2.0: Dynamic, Engaged Publics, by the Center for Social Media at American University, penned by Jessica Clark.
- Also from the Center, Scan and Analysis of Best Practices in Digital Journalism In and Outside U.S. Public Broadcasting, Center for Social Media.
- State of the News Media 2009, Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism
- Instant White Paper: The Future of News: Creating a new model for regional journalism in America – (pdf), by Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media.
- Saving the News: Towards a National Journalism Strategy, by Free Press.
- The NEW news: Journalism We Want & Need, by the Community Media Workshop.
Conferences also took up the future of news question. Mark Hallett of the McCormick Foundation liked Richard Rodriguez’s Final Edition: Twilight of the American Newspaper, originally presented at the New American Media conference. Michael Skoler, Reynolds Fellow at the Missouri School of Journalism, pointed to Steven Berlin Johnson’s South by Southwest speech, Old Growth Media and the Future of News, “a brilliant summation of what the future of news will look like and why it will be better than today’s news.” Ruth Lopez flagged this NPR debate, “Good Riddance to Mainstream Media.”
And blog posts:
- Leah Benancourt on How Google Wave is Changing News: “Chicago Tribune’s RedEye blog started its first public wave on November 10, and since then it has attracted more than 300 blips. Following that success, StephanieYiu, RedEye’s web editor, and Scott Kleinberg, senior editor of digital and print, now lead a half-hour public wave session every day.”
- Fake Steve Jobs’ Why the Mainstream Media is Dying: “What really cracks me up is how often I still hear people say that bloggers are mere “aggregators” and the “real journalism” gets done at places like the Times. Because time after time, blogs are simply beating the shit out of the newspapers. If newspapers want to survive they should go back to doing what they started out doing — muckraking, stirring the shit, calling bullshit.”
- Brian Newman liked Bill Wyman’s Five Key Reasons Why Newspapers are Failling.
- Dennis Haarsager liked Jay Rosen’s Audience Atomization Overcome: Why the Internet Weakens the Authority of the Press.
- Joe Germuska pointed to the Guardian’s crowd-sourced analysis of MP expense reports, and wants to know more. “There were four lessons written up soon after it went live, but I would like to hear at least one more insider report now that several months have passed. Were any stories broken out of information provided by the public?”
Facebook. Siva Vaidhyanathan liked the First Monday article Facebook and academic performance: Reconciling a media sensation with data by Josh Pasek, eian more, and Eszter Hargittai, and danah boyd’s Facebook and MySpace Users Are Clearly Divided Along Class Lines. Beth Kanter pointed to boyd‘s Streams of Content, Limited Attention: The Flow of Information through Social Media. WFMU’s Benjamen Walker shared A Fan of Big Brother? Facebook Launches Government Page, It’s SO over: cool cyberkids abandon social networking sites (“The percentage of 15- to 24-year-olds who have a profile on a social networking site has dropped for the first time – from 55% at the start of last year to 50% this year.”) and Sarah Palin Turning To Facebook To Spread Her Political Views. Rich Gordon of Medill likedFredVogelstein’s Wired article, Great Wall of Facebook: the Social Network’s Plan to Dominate the Internet– and Keep Google Out. Mark Hallett tagged Dan Schultz’s In Search of a Community that Takes ‘Me’ Out of Social Media.
Perennials. Several tech thinkers are mentioned every year, including:
- Jonathan Zittrain’s 2008 book The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It was mentioned several times; someone also mentioned James Dennis’ response to Zittrain.
- Henry Jenkins, for his blog and his book, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture.
- Larry Lessig, for Code, both the original and v2.0 (“even more relevant today than when it was written”); The Future of Ideas (2001), and his talk on the Google book search settlement.
- David Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous (2007)
- Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody was flagged, as was his talk “Where do people find the time?”
- PACMan3000’s The iPhone is a Platform: The tech media… are still judging Apple by the Mac versus Windows saga that played out over twenty years ago. Yes, licensing did work out for Microsoft in the end, but the question here is will the same strategy work out with mobile devices?
- Kevin Gibbons’ look at the effects of United Breaks Guitars and its, as of 12/21, 6.7 million views: “A single YouTube video complaint about a bad experience with United Airlines has contributed towards United Airlines share price dropping by 10% and costing shareholders a reported $180 million!”
- Brett Kelly on why Replacing Google Reader with Twitter is Nuts
- Next Generation Connectivity: A review of broadband Internet transitions and policy from around the world(Draft) (pdf), The Berkman Center.
- Eliot Van Buskirk, in 2008, on the FCC’s rationale for approving the Sirius/XM merger: “someone took one look at streaming radio on an iPhone and the deal was done.”
- Brian Newman wrote that “with all the talk about Free, I revisited Esther Dyson’s 1995 article (1995) on the subject …[S]he was not only quite prescient, she nailed the subject better than Anderson or Kelly has in their works. In one article.”
- David Weinberger’s optimistic, Is Hobbes the inevitable outcome of the Internet?: “Society has a tradition of drawing lines of privacy based not on what we can physically perceive but on what we’re allowed to notice…[A]s we get used to the new opportunities for invading privacy, we’ll develop norms that rope off some areas and some topics so that even if we happen to have looked down the social media blouse of the woman next to us, we’re not allowed to comment on what we saw.”
- Brian Newman suggested Eric Scime’s The Content Strategist as Digital Curator, saying “arts orgs need to understand this.” and Mike Masnick’s Trent Reznor case study video.
- Gene Koo liked Venkatesh Rao’s two–part post, The Gervais Principle, Or The Office According to “The Office.”
- j.ello’s The Unspoken truth about managing geeks. (“IT pros always and without fail, quietly self-organize around those who make the work easier, while shunning those who make the work harder, independent of the organizational chart.”)
- John McManus linked to Jack Balkin’s “The Future of Free Expression in a Digital Age,” 36 Pepperdine Law Review 101 (Jan. 29, 2009).
- Daniel Ernst cited two articles from the September issue of Wired Magazine, The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine and Why Craigslist is Such a Mess.
[There] is a peculiarly American paranoia about the media industry’s ability and inclination to mold the national psyche. This suspicion is reflected most prominently in articulated fears about the diversity and independence of news but extends to broader fears about potential cultural indoctrination by massive malevolent media conglomerates….As broadcasters represent a smaller and smaller part of the media that the public consumes, these regulations become more and more irrelevant and the massive regulatory infrastructure that supports them becomes more and more anachronistic. The fact that these rules persist and new ones continue to be proposed is a reflection of just how deep-seated and irrational these fears about the media are.
Bonnie McEwan liked The Chaos Scenario by Bob Garfield. Alberto Ibarguen of the Knight Foundation suggested Elizabeth Eisenstein’s, The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe, saying it “put our media transition in a much bigger, historical context for me… made me think longer range [and] stamped out any remaining inclination to whine about the impact of change that I may have had left over (I didn’t have much) from days near a newsroom.” Eric Steuer of Creative Commons suggested Dave Cullen’s Columbine. Steve Rhodes went old school, point to A.J. Liebling’s The Press; Timothy Crouse’s The Boys On The Bus and Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing On the Campaign Trail. (It doesn’t quite fit my parameters, and he didn’t respond to my solicitation, but last week Mayor Daley praised Marcus Jacques’ When China Rules the World. The Center for Social Media’s Pat Aufterheide liked Bill Patry’s Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars–here’s the blog.
Other nonfiction books on the list:
- Stephen Baker’s The Numerati
- Jessica Clark and Tracy Van Slyke’s Beyond the Echo Chamber: How a networked progressive media can reshape American Politics
- Way of the Turtle: The Secret Methods that Turned Ordinary People into Legendary Traders, Curtis Faith
- Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything, Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmel
- Free: : The Future of a Radical Price, Chris Anderson
- Honest Signals; How They Shape Our World, Alex (Sandy)Pentland
- Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century, P.W. Singer
- How We Test Software at Microsoft, Page
- Imagining India: Ideas for the New Century, Nilekani
- Crowdsourching: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business, Jeff Howe
- And Then There’s This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture , Bill Wasik
I’ll end with Michael Wesch’s Anthropological Introduction to YouTube– I tageed most of the links above “2009” on Delicious.