March 28, 2008

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Re-Thinking the Inverted Pyramid and Other Artifacts of Newsroom Culture Part of the Carnival of Journalism, this month hosted by Will Sullivan. While helping to organize the next Journalism that Matters conference - which is going to take place at Yahoo's Silicon Valley headquarters, Chris Peck, Chris O'brien, Martin Reynolds, Kara Andrade and others helped to map out the relationships that exist in a traditional newsroom. It is called Value Network Mapping and an example of it is show to the right. While creating this network map we talked about newsroom practices of old (watch this video) - so that we could later tear them apart in a web-centric distributed newsroom. What I found interesting, particularly when describing newsroom values to non-journalists in the room like Kaliya Hamlin, who I think understands the web innately, was that journalists really do have a strong culture. We have our own words: Nut graf, billboard, lede - we have positions or social hierarchies, stringers, copy editors, reporters, we have a set of values, neutrality, accuracy, etc. These are all signs of a culture. It's that same culture which many people think needs to be utterly redefined this year. So I thought I'd take this post to re-think some of the very basic aspects of our culture. Artifacts of Newsroom culture The Lede: Why it's spelled wrong. It's not a made up word. It's pronounced lead -- as in "I am in the lead," but when newspapers were printed back in the day people used to get it confused with lead (the metal) which...

David Cohn

I blog at: http://www.digidave.org I work at: http://spot.us

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