Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
James Pindell is trying to bring The Boston Globe’s election coverage to everyone by being everywhere
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
May 25, 2012, 12:23 p.m.

Must-see TV for the weekend: Three takes on how we create, spread, and take in information

Three recent talks that challenge how information is evolving.

In the United States, we’re about to start the three-day Memorial Day weekend, which means a little more sun, a few more hot dogs, and a bit more mental space. Don’t let it go to waste! Spend some part of it listening to smart people say smart things!

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society here at Harvard has hosted a spree of folks this month talking about the kinds of subjects we’re interested: how information gets made, how it gets shared, and how it gets consumed. First was James Gleick, talking about the ideas contained in his terrific book The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood. Then came metaLAB’s Matthew Battles, who brought in his knowledge of the history of knowledge to talk about what it might mean to “go feral” on the Internet. And finally, earlier this week, Mike Ananny of Microsoft and Berkman spoke about the public’s right to hear and how APIs are changing media infrastructure and affecting free speech.

At some point, maybe after that second BBQ burger (extra mustard, please), take a stretch with your iPad or your laptop and have a listen to what these guys have to say. You’ll be smarter for it.

James Gleick / The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

James Gleick is a native New Yorker and a graduate of Harvard and the author of a half-dozen books on science, technology, and culture. His latest bestseller, translated into 20 languages, is The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood, which the NY Times called “ambitious, illuminating, and sexily theoretical.” Whatever they meant by that. They also said “Don’t make the mistake of reading it quickly.”

Matthew Battles / Going Feral on the Net: the Qualities of Survival in a Wild, Wired World

How do we balance the empowering possibilities of the networked public sphere with the dark, unsettling, and even dangerous energies of cyberspace? Matthew Battles blends a deep-historical perspective on the internet with storytelling that reaches into its weird, uncanny depths. It’s a hybrid approach, reflecting the web’s way of landing us in a feral state—the predicament of a domestic creature forced to live by its imperfectly-rekindled instincts in a world where it is never entirely at home. The feral is a metaphor—and maybe more than just a metaphor—for thriving in cyberspace, a habitat that changes too rapidly for anyone truly to be native. This talk will weave critical and reflective discussion of online experience with a short story from Battles’ new collection, The Sovereignties of Invention.

Mike Ananny / A Public Right to Hear and Press Freedom in an Age of Networked Journalism

What does a public right to hear mean in networked environments and why does it matter? In this talk I’ll describe how a public right to hear has historically and implicitly underpinned the U.S. press’s claims to freedom and, more fundamentally, what we want democracy to be. I’ll trace how this right appears in contemporary news production, show how three networked press organizations have used Application Programming Interfaces to both depend upon and distance themselves from readers, and describe how my research program joins questions of free speech with media infrastructure design. I will argue that a contemporary public right to hear partly depends upon how the press’s technologies and practices mediate among networked actors who construct and contest what Bowker and Star (1999) call “boundary infrastructures.” It is by studying these technosocial, journalistic systems — powerful yet often invisible systems that I call “newsware” — that we might understand how a public right to hear emerges from networked, institutionally situated communication cultures like the online press.

POSTED     May 25, 2012, 12:23 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
James Pindell is trying to bring The Boston Globe’s election coverage to everyone by being everywhere
“Whether it’s their inbox, whether it’s for Twitter, Facebook, Medium, Instagram — the idea is to reach audiences where they’re at.”
The New York Times collaborates with This American Life on a special investigative report
The New York Times is running its story Friday, while This American Life’s complementary report will air this weekend and be available for download as a podcast Sunday.
With an interface that looks like a chat platform, Quartz wants to text you the news in its new app
“The content type is always messages, and that’s always true whether you’re getting the message inside the app or as a notification.”
What to read next
0
tweets
How Al Día, Philadelphia’s Spanish-language newspaper, is adapting to a bilingual world
Sixty-two percent of Hispanic-American adults are bilingual, and as more young people come to prefer reading in English, the paper is being forced to adapt.
0En Español: The New York Times launches a Spanish-language news site aiming south of the border
The New York Times en Español is the Times’ latest attempt to grow its audience internationally.
0This is what it’s like to launch a journalism school from scratch
At Morgan State, one of the few historically black colleges and universities with a journalism school, “we not only have to provide our students the knowledge in the classroom that they need to compete, but we also have to be a provider of the practical experiences that they need.”
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Hacks/Hackers
ABC News
Placeblogger
AOL
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
St. Louis Globe-Democrat
NBC News
The Ann Arbor Chronicle
Sacramento Press
The Huffington Post
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
St. Louis Beacon