I spent last Friday in a windowless room with a bunch of men wearing a lot of pancake makeup, but it was a lot more fun than it sounds — I was taping an episode of TVO’s great show The Agenda with Steve Paikin, something I have been honoured to do more than once. This one was about the iPad and what it means (or doesn’t mean) for traditional media, and I was joined by Jesse Brown, host of Search Engine, as well as Globe columnist Ivor Tossell and Wired writer Steve Levy, who was broadcasting via Skype from a library in a small town called Otis, somewhere in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. We talked about the difference that a touch interface makes, the “lean forward” vs. “lean back” experience and how media outlets are offering to sell their souls to Steve Jobs in return for some semblance of hope for the future. I’ve embedded the video below.
If you’re interested in the future of media, you’re going to want to be at mesh 2010 on May 18 and 19 for our media keynote: Chris Thorpe. Chris comes to us from The Guardian, one of Britain’s leading newspapers, where he is the Developer Advocate in charge of the paper’s Open Platform. This puts him at the forefront of one of the most fascinating frontiers in the media industry: namely, the transformation of traditional media entities such as newspapers into digital-information services that distribute their content in a variety of different ways online. And sometimes that involves experimenting too: an offhand remark during a lunch presentation by Clay Shirky, for example, recently led to the creation of a “ChatRoulette for news” called Guardian Roulette.
The Guardian’s Open Platform is based on an open API (i.e, application programming interface) similar to that provided by Google, Twitter, Facebook and other companies provide, which allows developers and programmers to use The Guardian’s content in a variety of ways, and build it into third-party services at no cost. The New York Times also has an open API, but it only provides access to a small part of the text in each story, whereas The Guardian’s provides the full text of every story.
In a blog post last year, British MP Tom Watson wrote:
I’m not bowled over much these days. But Guardian Open Platform is a chasmic leap into the future. It is a work of simplistic beauty that I’m sure will have a dramatic impact in the news market. The Guardian is already a market leader in the online space but Open Platform is revolutionary. It makes all of their major competitors look timid. Governments should be doing this. Governments will be doing it. The question is how long will it take us to catch up. (British MP Tom Watson)
Chris gave a presentation last year at the Future of Web Apps conference, which is embedded below, in which he talked about how The Guardian’s use of an open platform is “building the stacks of a mutualised newspaper.”
There’s also an interview with Chris here: