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Math and the new journalism
By Dave Winer on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 1:15 PM.

Last week I wrote a piece called Year Zero for Journalism. permalink

Doc Searls, ever the phrase-turner, called it Journalism 0.0. permalink

Jay and I call our podcast Rebooting The News. permalink

Year Zero. 0.0. Rebooting. permalink

Thinking of the new in terms of the old is not productive.  permalink

Wondering how we will continue to do what-we-always-have-done is not going to get us closer to the future way of journalism. permalink

So.. What does this new journalism look like? permalink

Let's figure it out! permalink

robotI was a math major, so I spent a few years in my early adulthood learning how to find true things about conceptual spaces. As you advance through math the world your thoughts occupy gets stranger and more and more unlike the space our bodies occupy. Turns out that was good training for a mind that has to grasp things like journalism with a completely different set of rules. permalink

I remember taking a class in summer school in a subject called Real Analysis, that's on the road to Topology. It was one of the hardest classes I took, and I got a good grade, at least for me (I was far from one of the best students in my class). The moment of truth was during an exam when I had to prove a theorem and I had no idea how to do it. So I just started out with something I thought was true, that seemed to be on the path, and proved that. Then I proved another thing, and another, and finally I could see how the pieces fit together and was able to prove the theorem. It was a shining moment for me, because I was the only student in the class who solved the problem. So of course I never forgot how I did it. permalink

So let's try the same approach to figure out what the first instance of Journalism 0.0 looks like. Let's start with something we know to be true.  permalink

1. There are fewer paid reporters in Journalism 0.0 than there were in the past. permalink

I think any reporter who has been laid off in the last couple of years, and there are a lot of them, many of whom are very smart people, can see that, pretty clearly. Today there are a lot fewer people working in newsrooms than there were in the past. permalink

Now does that mean there will be fewer people doing journalism? permalink

I hope not! permalink

Why? Because we have an ever-increasing appetite for new information, i.e. news. permalink

Do you think that appetite will go un-filled? (I don't.) permalink

So if Postulate #1 is true, and there will be fewer paid reporters in the new journalism, where will the new reporters come from?  permalink

That's the question that's been on my mind for the last decade, since I wrote How To Make Money On The Internet. That was almost exactly ten years ago. Where will they come from? Where? permalink

Stay tuned for the next installment. <img src="> permalink

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