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A postscript to today's piece

Sunday, February 22, 2009 by Dave Winer.

I'd say the chance, today, of some news organization trying the experiment outlined in today's earlier piece is virtually nil.  Permalink to this paragraph

One commenter said yesterday: "What we need now are small ideas with obvious financial underpinnings that can grow organically to fill any unmet needs of customers."  Permalink to this paragraph

To paraphrase, as the first passenger, in a bus careening down the steep mountainside, to observe that there's no driver, said: "We need small ideas to fix this problem." Yes, even big ideas are small given the dire circumstances. You won't get an argument from me. No sarcasm. Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named loco.gifWhen they built the first Transcontinental Railroad, the guys heading east from California had a much harder job than the guys heading west from Omaha. Starting in Sacramento it went straight uphill, and didn't get any better when they got to the summit. So if approaching the new reality from the journalism side is so hard, maybe it's more approachable from our side. After all, what do we have to do, other than find a way to glue the experts together in a cohesive whole and give it authority. Not so easy -- that authority thing, but maybe it's easier than asking the professional news organizations to let their sources into their clubroom? Permalink to this paragraph

So what then? Well, turns there's a schematic for it, called Hypercamp, which is an awful name -- but it kind of stuck. It's the equivalent of a press room at a conference, with refreshments, excellent networking both technical and human, and accessible to both news reporters and news makers, without making too much of a fuss about which one you are (you're probably both). Two podia, one at either end of the room, rented by people with formal announcements to make, that's how the rent is paid. Otherwise everyone works for no one but themselves. I'd like to give this a try. Anyone in SF want to set one up? I'd be there from time to time, blogging and schmoozing. Permalink to this paragraph

There's another related idea, the Flash Conference -- a convention of experts brought together instantly to discuss some breaking news, to exchange ideas and perspectives, and disseminate them quickly while the story is still fresh. This is another approach that can begin before the news industry either: 1. Opens up. 2. Collapses. 3. Something else. Permalink to this paragraph

Can-do or no-can-do. There's not a lot of the latter in news these days -- no wonder the news is so depressing. Let's bring some of the former to the problem and see what happens. It's not like anyone gets out of this thing alive, you know. ;-> Permalink to this paragraph

Big hugs, Uncle Dave... Permalink to this paragraph

PS: I was talking with Nicco yesterday (Morra, his wife, had a baby six weeks ago, lovely little Asa, future football player, swimmer and President of the United States) and he tells me his class at KSG has to read this blog every day as part of their assignment. Excellent. So here's a project for you guys. Set one of these newsrooms up at Harvard. I'd come. I bet Berkman would help. ;-> Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

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