The future of news in 4 dimensions

C.W. Anderson — @chanders on Twitter — has an update to his recent post at Nieman Journalism Lab, which tried to go beyond the binary “real journalists vs. bloggers” equation to look at online and traditional journalism entities on an axis related to how institutional/open they are and how fact-oriented/commentary-oriented they are.

The future of news in 4 dimensions

By C.W. AndersonSept. 8  /  2:27 p.m.  

September 8, 2009, 2:27 pm

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In my last post, I spent a lot of time laying out a fairly abstract framework for how we can think intelligently about future kinds of news organizations. I argued they could be usefully evaluated and charted on four factors: the type of work they do, how institutionalized they are, how many resources they have, and how open they are to outsiders.

But the value of any model lies not in its elegance, but in the degree to which it can help us think about the world in a useful way — the way it can give us “tools to think with,” as the saying goes — and can help us solve practical problems.

Note that by “solve practical problems” I don’t simply mean “figure out a business model for journalism.” Business models are important — but questions like “what kind of journalism best integrates with the nature of 21st-century democracy and society?” are also practical problems. So in this post I want to apply the model to a few real new organizations, describe what problems I think it might help us solve, and answer a few questions raised by my previous post.

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