With seemingly endless job cuts and the constant drumbeat of pessimism in the media about journalism, Martin Moore of the Media Standards Trust and web developer Mark Ng who works with the Trust wanted to give journalists the opportunity to discuss possibilities about the future instead of feeling trapped and powerless in an industry in turmoil.
"Everyone is fixated by doom and gloom around print. We wanted to start to get together people who are doing interesting things and get journalists and developers together," Moore said. The discussion gave rise to News Innovation London.
The event, in cooperation with the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts and the Web Science Research Initiative, hopes to bring together journalists and developers to talk about ways to re-invent journalism. The event will be at NESTA on 10 July from 1 to 7 pm. There are still a few tickets left for the free event, and once the tickets are gone, they will keep a waiting list in case of last minute cancellations.
Even during the recession, people still are experimenting and doing new things. The event will be about journalism innovators such as Rick Waghorn and his football web startup, MyFootballWriter. He used his redundancy package from the Norwich Evening News to build the site, believing that people still wanted quality writing. His goal was:
To take a print press off a journalist's back and Google out of local advertisers' loop, by putting locally-sourced and respected sports reports in the palm of everyone's hand, whilst at the same time giving local advertisers the chance to put their brand in front of their neighborhood audience.
Participants can talk about how they are using iPhone audio filing application AudioBoo for journalism or discuss the Birmingham-based Help Me Investigate project, a collaborative investigative journalism project funded by Channel 4's 4iP, Moore said. Katie King of the Online News Association will be there talking about the organisation. Kevin Marsh with the BBC College of Journalism will be there as well as Tom Loosemoore of 4iP.
"We hope that it's a step in connecting people," Moore said.
As a developer, Ng wanted to reach out to journalists who often see technology as the problem. "A lot of journalists are fighting their IT departments, with rubbish CMSes and stuff like this," he said, but he wants journalists to "meet developers who want to build stuff that is good and does interesting things".
"There are a lot of developers who believe in decent news media and believe it is important to democracy," Ng said.
The event will have an open structure, what is called an unconference, so anyone who attends will be able to discuss a project or an idea that they have.
"We want people to start to look to the future instead of focusing on 'Good grief, I'm rapidly becoming redundant'," Moore said, adding, "For the optimists, we say that the future of journalism is not black if look at things from a different perspective."
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