Carnival Roundup No. 3: Driving innovation #JCarnPosted: April 1, 2011
Yet another fantastic #jcarn. With every one of these, we find new participants, and others become hardened veterans. Once again, we’ve made the Harvard Nieman Lab’s “This Week In Review” (pretty f’n badass), but we will do our own wrap-up below.
Dan ‘the original’ Gillmor starts us off at Mediactive. Ever the clear thinker, he says: “If I were to change any single element of the News Challenge, it would be this: I’d put at least half of the money not into grants but into equity investments in for-profit companies.” Beyond that immediate recommendation, Dan also ponders “who can help the connectors spread innovation into the larger ecosystem?” His post is a great read.
Steve “veteran of the new #jcarn” Outing gives some suggestions to the Reynolds Journalism Institute. Even better, he put them in a simple-to-digest way : 1.) Narrow the focus 2.) un-typical fellows 3.) what types of fellows to avoid and 4.) what types of programs they should go through during the fellowship. Thanks, Steve!
Lisa “can I borrow your brain” Williams says that the future of journalism is small. This post gets me amped up. “The future of journalism will be a tale of smaller and smaller organizations making a bigger and bigger impact.”
Jan “J-lab” Schaffer believes that innovation is about relationships (and conventions and processes) more than tools and products. If you are a female entreprenuer, the deadline for their 12k startup grant is looming.
Paul “that accent is awesome” Bradshaw advocates innovation that is quicker, smaller-scale and more transparent.
Mary “not Poppins” Hamilton suggests more training, more partnerships (links) and more attention to the intersections.
Joy “fellow fellow” Mayer titles her post something not many of us would “don’t give me money” but instead says she wants to see support and funding for folks outside of journalism. “Community building is high on the list of industries…,” so why do we think journalists will be the best at community building?
Geoff “Sac’n it up” Samek writes a quick but to the point recommendation. It’s similar to Mayer’s with a more direct focus — fund the technologists.
Steve “the Silver” Fox suspects I was doing a little bit of my own crowdsourcing in asking this question. I have no comment. But I do appreciate his feedback for RJI to further define and refine itself first: “We all go to the same conferences where we get energized about the Future of Journalism. We promise to act on the many fantastic ideas we talk about over lattes. But, all too often (and I’m as guilty as anyone) the ideas get lost when we return to our day-to-day lives. So, how about making the Reynolds Fellowship into something more concrete?”
The Common Language Project tells the story of how it funds its international projects (from its own pockets) and offers this recommendation: “They should focus on sustaining the innovation that has already occurred — giving small operational grants to the countless ventures like the CLP around the country that have revolutionized journalism over the past five years.”
Alfred “you can call me Al” Hermida focuses his post not on projects or products but instead looks more to the mindset of innovation. He says: “The challenge here isn’t a lack of new ‘innovative’ products; it is adopting what is often called a digital mindset…Some journalists may shrug their shoulders at the idea of media studies, but it is critical that they develop an appreciation of the world of media today at a theoretical level.”
Jonathan “the groove” Groves wants to see innovative change-agents who are inserted into news organizations or other situations where they can spread their changyness like a virus. The Mozilla-Knight partnership is a start. I wonder how much further they can take it?
Martin “must love curry” Belam actually has me question my own criticisms of yesterday about newspapers in his post. I’ve often asked why newspapers didn’t invent Craigslist. Martin points out you could easily ask why railroad companies didn’t invent cars, newspapers didn’t invent telephones, etc. “News innovation isn’t just about writing code; it is about how we use that code to tell stories.”
Abby “the energy reporter” Gruen bounces ideas off Martin’s post and imagines a particular resource for reporters to share their sources, data, etc. A journalistically centered Wikipedia.
Josh ‘check out the National Media Reform Conference coming soon’ Sterns riffs on his blog about the New York Times pay meter. He provides some interesting history and a great breakdown of various hybrid models between for-profits and nonprofits. Where many of the contributors to this #jcarn have recommended Knight go big in one direction or the other, it sounds like Sterns is suggesting a middle ground.
Andre “never terminal but always The Terminal” Natta asks “what are we innovating” in his post. “Are we innovating to improve on what we are already doing or in an effort to completely replace it with something new?” Not unrelated to The Common Language Project’s post above. More from Andre “I’d rather ask what people want instead of what ‘the next big thing’ in journalism will look like.”
Kim “your gateway to Los Angeles” Bui sometimes worries that we are innovating in a bubble. Specific recommendations include more follow-up for Knight and pairing up Reynolds Fellows with newsrooms that need help. Both are good food for thought. Which reminds me — Kim, please save a tasty L.A. taco for me.
Benét “aviation geek” Wilson has specific advice for the Reynolds Journalism Institute: “Make more of an effort to attract more diverse fellows to the program in the widest sense of the word…I’ d love to see not only more people of color, but I’d also like to see folks including early career journalists, citizen journalists/news bloggers and entrepreneurs looking to improve journalism.”
Michael “take no prisoners” Rosenblum won’t be entering the Knight News Challenge again and gives his personal story entering the contest several years in a row. In a follow-up post, he asks “What’s a foundation for” and wonders if financial sustainability is becoming too much of a buzzword. Finances be damned — let’s just innovate.
Adam “the sad clown” Tinworth doesn’t want to mince words or take any prisoners. He cuts right to the chase with 5 things NOT to do to spur innovation. Or as he put it, things to do if you want to waste money.
Pat “the beat blogger” Thornton asks “who needs a business model anyway,” and the short and sweet of it: “It’s time for Knight to start funding projects whose only objective is to help news organizations make money.” But to paint more of a picture: “How about an open source Groupon competitor that news orgs could install? How about a new classifieds platform that crushes Craigslist on usability and experience? How about an open source self-administered ad platform ala Facebook ads?”
Ryan “probably an awesome dad” Sholin writes a special message to his old colleague Michael Maness, now VP of Knight. His ideas include bringing some of that Ideo-goodness, investing in for-profits (see Dan Gillmor’s post) and tapping into the unnoticed journalism entrepreneurs inside newsrooms.
Michael ”f’ Stanford, Go Bears” Marcotte is writing from his experience at the Knight Stanford Fellowship. “If the fellowship is a bridge to innovation, it must be well-connected to current practitioners whether the bulk of their practice is in the past, the present, or the future.” Michael’s post is candid and provides great insight into the tough question: “So you have a fellowship, what types of ‘fellows’ do you invite?” I’m not sure if there is one right answer, but Michael seems to stress on balance.
David “who the hell does this guy think he is” Cohn wrote something but spent far more time reading and aggregating other posts. We aren’t sure what or why he wrote in this post. We personally find this guy to be a total a-hole. Luckily, he intends to hand off reins to the #jcarn soon. Golden tickets are being sent out in the mail now.
Shaminder “the designer” Dulai envisions a News Challenge 2.0. Although Shaminder does break the first rule of #jcarn (no apologizing), the post is a fantastic overview of the aspirations and potential that the challenge represents in addition to specific words of advice: Don’t chase hype, provide guidance, etc.
Danny “the fighter of homelessness” Fenster goes for a deep dive. It’s hard to summarize his post, but it cuts right to the heart of an ongoing question any innovation-spurring organization must ask. What IS journalism?
Donica “the ever-thoughtful” Mensing: Her contribution to the carnival is to urge Knight, RJI and others to fund research. Not slow and ponderous research but networked research processes that allow us to gather and organize the lessons, epiphanies, victories and failures of all the experiments that are flourishing around us.
Sally “last on the list, first in our hearts” Duros points out that “at this key moment of change, I would urge [Knight and Reynolds] to crystallize your missions in your mindset so you can work from the core and jettison what is superfluous…. To me, you share a similar core: Your mission is about social change that supports Democracy.”