Did you know that news is still all about “newness”? That’s right. Also butter has too much butter in it. But Ezra Klein, Matthew Yglesias and random people who missed out on a gig at Think Progress will now redefine the news.
Early last year, Melissa Bell, Matt Yglesias and I began wrestling with a question that had bugged all of us for a long time: why hadn’t the Internet made the news better at delivering crucial context alongside new information?
It hasn’t? Is Ezra Klein aware of the hyperlink?
New information is not always — and perhaps not even usually — the most important information for understanding a topic.
Amazing. So just randomly adding new information doesn’t explain a topic? Please tell me more. It’s like a strawman come to life.
The overriding focus on the new made sense when the dominant technology was newsprint: limited space forces hard choices. You can’t print a newspaper telling readers everything they need to know about the world, day after day. But you can print a newspaper telling them what they need to know about what happened on Monday. The constraint of newness was crucial.
Next on TED talks, how will the internet transform news with its unlimited space? Oddly enough, newsprint was better at providing information than modern new media which has to do longreads to imitate the form.
The web has no such limits. There’s space to tell people both what happened today and what happened that led to today.
No there isn’t. Space in both newsprint and online is subject to cost and the limits of attention span. Attention span has hard limits. For example, I just skimmed through Ezra Klein’s big news announcement and didn’t bother clicking on any of the contextual links.
But the software newsrooms have adopted in the digital age has too often reinforced a workflow built around the old medium.
Because people are interested in breaking news. Also Google Search has adopted social media’s trending topics over deep search.
Today, we are better than ever at telling people what’s happening, but not nearly good enough at giving them the crucial contextual information necessary to understand what’s happened.
Actually it’s just the opposite. Liberal media bias has become so overt that context has drowned out actual information. People are told what to think about something before they are told what it is.
More liberals know that Benghazi is some silly right-wing nonsense than know what happened there. And that’s how the Jornolist gang likes it.
But Ezra Klein and the rest of the gang are going to fight this whole newness business by creating a…. blog. That ought to do it.