BBC College of Journalism head Kevin Marsh gave the keynote at the News:rewired conference at City University on Thursday and made a series of sharp observations about how social media is changing journalism that were left largely unchallenged by the audience due to the over-running of his slot: Blogging has redefined notions both of what constitutes a story is and of what a is meant by a deadline, and is improving journalism. Journalism has never been healthier but he was glad not to be starting out in the trade Expertise is going to become an ever growing factor in journalism.
There was a lot of reaction to Kevin’s comments in the #newsrw Twitter back channel and I grabbed him afterwards for some more details of the thinking behind his views:
The return to work on Monday prompted the launch of the main UK political parties’ pre-election campaigns and the indications are that social media is likely to play a big role in the run-up to the general election.
David Cameron kicked off the Conservatives’ Draft Health Manifesto with a very neat ‘ask Cameron’ feature making use of Google Moderator — something I’d not heard of before but previously used by Conservative MP Giles Chichester in the runup to the Copenhagen climate summit.
Last week, Reuters News took a small step into the unknown and hosted an ‘unconference‘ – a conference in which almost everything is generated by the participants. This is nothing new in the world of technology where fans have been using the term for more than a decade, but for a journalist like me somewhat unsettling.
Conventionally, at conferences a panel of experts talks about their specialist subject and, if there’s time, the audience gets a chance to ask a few questions at the end. My understanding is that an ‘unconference’ reverses all this — the focus shifts from stage to audience. What I also get now is that it addresses those negative thoughts you find yourself thinking if you attend conventional conferences regularly. Thoughts like: