Monday, December 8, 2014 at 11:57 AM

We make tools

Interesting piece by King Kaufman at Bleacher Report, on the disconnect between Silicon Valley and the news industry. Read the whole piece, but there's a line at the end that really got me thinking.

"I can't tell you whether you should embrace a so-called Silicon Valley approach to journalism or stand and fight for old-school journalism."

There is no such thing

Silicon Valley does not have an approach to journalism. Silicon Valley makes tools that people can use to make journalism. A very important distinction.

As a software developer, I create tools that are useful in doing news. I use them to write myself, but when I do that, I've switched over to the other side of the fourth wall. I've become a user. The same way a TV show runner can also watch shows. A doctor becomes a patient. We wear different hats at different times. But especially in journalism, it's very important to at all times know which hat you're wearing.

We do best when we listen to our users, think about what they say about and do with our products, and strive to make them work better for users. This is the process of technology product development. It's iterative, it builds on its past.

Journalism is different. I'll leave it to journalists to define it.

The lines do cross

Yes, there are technology companies who are investing in content. That's also a fact, and they are here to stay.

For example YouTube and Facebook are now competing for share with video producers. Medium is gathering an impressive group of writers to help guide the development of their CMS. Or maybe the writing is their main business? I'm not sure they've decided yet.

It also goes the other way. All of the news organizations have more or less created their own CMSes, some from off-the-shelf technology, others built more or less from scratch.

But we do our best work, imho, when we know who we are, what role we're playing.

Last built: Sun, Mar 22, 2015 at 5:50 PM

By Dave Winer, Monday, December 8, 2014 at 11:57 AM. Still diggin!