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April 20, 2009, 8:01 a.m.

Rebooting The News: Dave Winer and Jay Rosen on saving journalism

If you’ve ever listened to or created a podcast, you were benefiting from the work of Dave Winer, the occasionally obstreperous, often brilliant developer and provocateur with the surfer-hippie voice who, together with ex-MTV VJ Adam Curry, hashed out in public the idea of automated audio delivery that became known as podcasting. Winer and Curry talked about the emerging format in a rambling series of recordings dubbed by Winer “Trade Secrets Radio” (the audio appears to be lost to the ages, unfortunately). The relaxed setting and lack of slavery to polish and formatting created something of a “My Dinner With Andre” for online audio geeks — an opportunity to listen in as something valuable was being created.

And, now, lightening appears to be striking twice, with the rollout of a weekly series of Skype conversations between Winer and NYU Journalism professor Jay Rosen. The name: Rebooting The News.

The name of the podcast carries all its assumptions: A hard restart is necessary, and technology has a role in reshaping journalism.

As befits the unfinished nature of this enterprise, the pieces require some assembly: There’s a Friendfeed room, but there’s no actual home (or separate feed, which, frankly, is frustrating) for the audio (the latest is here, the previous episode is here).

But to get you started, some excerpts. First up, from this week, Jay talks about the forced digital migration of journalists, but Dave is less than impressed with the hand-wringing about how hard the transition can be for reporters facing wrenching change:

[audio:http://niemanlab.org/images/migration.mp3]

From last week’s episode, a discussion of business models, why the solution hasn’t already emerged, and why our expectations of what that solution will look like are probably wrong:

[audio:http://niemanlab.org/images/bizmodel.mp3]

What I really hope happens is this:  Now that Dave and Jay have laid the groundwork of what’s wrong with the current situation they’ll move to discussing ideas and solutions. For instance, this sidebar on how independent bloggers and journalists could amplify the current mayoral race in Boston (a race Winer, in a bit of lightly-sourced exaggeration, says The Globe is not covering at all, an assertion which Rosen correctly challenges as unbelievable):

[audio:http://niemanlab.org/images/boston.mp3]

This is definitely worth 40 minutes a week on your commute.

(A bit of unplanned transparency: When I listened this morning to the latest episode, I was surprised to hear Dave and Jay discussing this very site and Dave talking about his weekend visit visit last week with Joshua Benton and Zachary Seward of Nieman Journalism Lab.)

POSTED     April 20, 2009, 8:01 a.m.
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