Predict future news events with web data

Is it possible to know the future? In general, the answer is a resounding “No!” But in certain instances, tools are emerging to predict what might happen in the near future with high probability. This kind of knowledge — say, that civil unrest and violence is likely to erupt in a specific country within the…

Local protest

How to measure the value of news content: How about based on reader action?

7 min read

“What is the best way to measure meaningful content?” … That’s the prompt for June’s Carnival of Journalism, a monthly blog-fest where journalism experts and aficionados answer a common question, and the result is a brain dump usually representing lots of diversity and wisdom. Carnival proprietor David Cohn has a rule for participants: “No apologies.”…

Print is dying

What if? … The NY Times ended its daily print edition

8 min read

Stop the presses! (For 6 days a week!) … Yes, I’m being serious. The recent New York Times “Innovation” report, a meant-to-be-internal strategy document proposing a (long-overdue) digital-first future for what is arguably the best newspaper and digital news operation on the planet, painted a depressing picture. Despite beefing up its digital business and creating…

NYT Innovation report

NY Times: Another myopic dinosaur that needs to go digital first?

3 min read

You’ve likely seen the “leaked” New York Times innovation-strategy report produced by an 8-member team of NYT employees, presumably for management and internal consumption. (The unabridged version appeared on the web, initially via Buzzfeed, just as executive editor Jill Abramson was getting fired last week — perhaps not coincidentally. The report is dated March 24,…

No more J school

Is ‘Journalism’ losing its clout in U.S. higher education?

11 min read

The University of Colorado’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication ceased to exist (it was “discontinued”) on June 30, 2011. Journalism education at CU lives on, for now as a “program” housed in the CU Graduate School. At some point, CU will have a Journalism “department” inside a still-being-planned new College of Media, Communication, &…

Innovate blur

How to spark innovation in your own thinking (journalism edition)

12 min read

This post is part of the latest Carnival of Journalism group-blogging thought exercise. The question (posed this month by Donica Mensing, associate professor of journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno): “How do you spark innovation in your own thinking, your newsroom or classroom? What techniques do you recommend?” Well, I’m game to tackle that…

Keep it secret

New Secret app offers escape from our transparent society

6 min read

Privacy or transparency? Can’t we have both? … This past week brought the public debut of Secret, a new iPhone app (Android coming later) that I predict will be a hit, because it comes at a time when it’s increasingly difficult to keep secrets or have any semblance of digital privacy. And while initially it…

The Circle

How a sci-fi dystopian vision can improve the future

10 min read

Futurists deal with scenarios. With a single future for any industry or important issue impossible to predict accurately, the best way to forecast what is years or decades ahead is by working with multiple (plausible) scenarios, and going from there — say, to developing solutions to societal problems that accompany respective scenarios (of climate change,…


Part of a very small tribe: CNN’s news futurist

10 min read

Where have all the full-time news futurists gone? … Oh, yeah, there have been so few in the news industry, it’s no wonder that most news companies have trouble grappling with the future. The New York Times hired author and futurist Michael Rogers as “futurist in residence” from 2006 to 2008. Rogers previously worked at…

Money wall

Paywalls in my back yard: A forecast for newspaper business models

7 min read

It’s now been many years that I’ve been writing and opining about “paywalls” for news websites. It’s not a subject that’s going away, although living in the Boulder-Denver, Colorado, media market, I haven’t had to deal with paywalls myself. Until now. Both the Daily Camera (my local newspaper/news website in Boulder) and the nearby and…


Have we hit rock bottom with local news yet?

6 min read

While I’m usually on top of news-industry news, I confess to not spotting this until today (thanks to Journalism That Matters‘ latest newsletter): an indicator of the plummeting quality of some (maybe many) newspapers after years of cost-cutting. Can it get much worse than this?… On November 6, 2013, the day after Election Day, the…

Carnival of Journalism

Advice for student news media: Be radically experimental!

10 min read

It’s back! The Carnival of Journalism. Hip, hip, hooray! Huh?! The Carnival is a monthly online gabfest of (mostly) journalists who all agree to answer a common question, usually related to the future of journalism, on their respective blogs. It’s being resurrected by David Cohn, a.k.a. DigiDave, after a break. (There were other breaks before…

Existence promo

In David Brin’s ‘Existence,’ a sci-fi journalist relies on credible smart mobs and ubiquitous connection

9 min read

If you want to have an idea of what the future (or various futures) might look like, I hope you’re a fan of science fiction. The best sci-fi novelists, including author/futurist/scientist David Brin, are adept at extrapolating possible futures based on emerging technologies, scientific discoveries, and societal trends that are just beginning to exhibit themselves…