So naturally when Google Wave came along, journalists realised it posed yet another challenge to their profession - and another great excuse to talk/write/blog about the nature of journalism.
Mark Milian over at the LA Times wrote a great blog post recently How Google Wave could transform journalism. He dropped his blog post into Google Wave, to see what would happen, and some interesting conversations have sprung up around it. That's where I met Jacob Chapel - a freelancer web developer, aspiring game developer and "lover of all things tech" from Washington State. Jacob and I had an interesting conversation about the future of Google Wave which, which Jacob's blessing, I published as a blog post. I think it gives an interesting insight into the nature of Google Wave and where it's future might lie.
Jacob and I also struck up a conversation about Google Wave's potential to transform journalism. It was kicked off by Niels, a journalist from Denmark who had already left comments dispersed throughout our previous conversation (again, the limits of a static blog post means you didn't get to see them). Once again it's a long conversation, but I think it's a very relevant one for anyone who creates or publishes content.
[The conversation below has expanded considerably in Google Wave, with threads dispersed throughout from many contributors. This is difficult to reproduce and might also require the permission of each contributor. As such, I've just reproduced my original conversation with Jacob - spread across three hours.]
Well, how DO you guys feel google wave could transform journalism?
For one thing I think the "editable article" becomes one step closer to being a possibility. At least it becomes easier for editing (cooperating) journalists to edit an online article on the go, hit Done, and then it's uploaded to the web - or to the printing room :-)
It sounds like the citizen journalism concept - which trained journalists don't like because it implies anyone can do their job (and the journo's years of experience and training count for nothing). You never hear of a citizen doctor, lawyer or pilot.
That aside, I think it's more practical to let people annotate a news story than actually edit it. What's to stop people adding the bias and inaccuracies that journalists strive to avoid? What's to stop people throwing in defamatory comments and straight out lies?
A Wave would make an interesting researching and drafting/workshop tool - I'd happily open up a wave as part of writing a story, assuming it wasn't a scoop that I didn't want someone else to steal (I'm a freelancer, and I'm also not sure how an editor would feel about a story being published on Wave before it runs in the magazine). I might use Wave during the writing stage, but then I think the final version deserves to retain its integrity. You don't see people demanding to change the words on a U2 album, or re-write the ending of a John Grisham book, and then push this change onto everyone. I think a well-crafted news story or feature article deserves the same respect. That's why I doubt Wave will take off as a publishing medium until editing restrictions are introduced.
You mean choosy editing?
I agree that for a professional piece of writing, there are certain things that a writer needs to feel that their work is being respected, at least when it comes to including others into the process. I think one way to benefit the writer/journalist but not remove any power over his craft would be a sort of submission style editing. Where as someone could 'edit' a story but the change would not be in public view. It would be sent or shown to the owner of the piece and they could choose to publish it or not.
Exactly - choosy editing - great line that. Submission style editing sounds perfect, but only some journos would be prepared to expose their work in Wave before it runs. For example, sports writers and political writers would avoid it because they're in cut-throat fields. My focus is digital entertainment - I'd happily accept submission style editing on a large feature about the introduction of digital television.
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