predicting the future

5 reasons for hope for journalism’s future

I realized it the other day: I started the year by highlighting a sobering story for any storyteller.

I linked to a brilliant piece by Andrew Marantz called “The Virologist”, which profiled a web site/content creator who aims for clicks and money without any nod to ethics or storytelling. Sites like this — think Buzzfeed, but even more calculated — drive on the highway of journalism without getting into the lane of journalistic responsibility. Marantz gave an absolutely brutal assessment of the landscape of the Web.

The piece, to be sure, started the year on a low note.

So let’s take it back to a higher one.

Let’s use this space to talk about what excites us for the new year — and the future of journalism and storytelling.

Here are five things that give me hope: (more…)

PODCAST EPISODE #10: Rachel Hamburg, Stanford Storytelling Project

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At the end of a lengthy and optimistic answer about how young journalists can succeed professionally, Rachel Hamburg — a 2011 Stanford graduate — took a step back.

“As a 25-year-old hoping to make a career out of this, I think it’s a little bit scary,” she said. “And it’s OK to be scared.”

Then she broke into laughter — the type that occurs when, looking at the difficult journey ahead, all you can do is laugh.

The majority of young storytellers and journalists face the challenge of channeling their enthusiasm and skills into a stable, long-lasting career. Many industries have obvious and time-honored career paths; journalism is not one of them. It is a constantly changing field where new tools and vehicles pop up almost annually.

Hamburg is off to a great start. She freelances with innovative storytelling programs like Mashcast, and she currently serves as the managing editor for the Stanford Storytelling Project, which provides storytelling training for students in any field.

She is also my guest on the tenth episode of the Telling The Story podcast.

I chose Hamburg as a guest because she represents a unique viewpoint. She produces traditional media, in a sense; the Stanford Storytelling Project team regularly delivers episodes of an hour-long, “This American Life”-style podcast called “State of the Human”. But she also has relationships with cutting-edge journalists and does not limit the power of journalism to its traditional forms. She is a new college graduate who also, through her job, advises current students.

And she does all this while trying to figure out her own future.

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3 GREAT STORIES: Starring the new iPhone, Netflix, & the Apple Store

Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

I have always been fascinated by how big-name corporations try to predict the future.

This is especially true when it comes to technology.

With the tech world changing so rapidly, I continually find myself interested in how the big names in that business try to stay ahead of the curve. Some — like Apple — always seem to be on the right side of that wave. Others always seem to be playing catch-up.

I read three articles this week that offered an enlightening window into two major companies: Apple and Netflix. If you use their products, you will enjoy these pieces.

The secret of iOS7  (9/19/13, I, Cringely): The best tech writers are able to present their own visions of the future. In this case, technology journalist Mark Stephens — known by his pen name, Robert X. Cringely — delivers his predictions about Apple’s predictions.

Cringely dissects the release of Apple’s new iPhones and iOS7 operating system, positing a beautiful theory on where the ground-breaking company might be headed next:

Here’s what I think is happening. At the very moment when Apple critics are writing-off the company as a three- or four- or five-hit wonder, Apple is embracing the fact that desktop computers only represent about 15 percent of its income, making Apple clearly a mobile technology company. As such, it is more important for Apple to expand its mobile offerings than its desktops. So Apple in a sense is about to make the Macintosh deliberately obsolete.

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