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Dead as a Mutton Again: Journalism's Modernity Problem

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Monday, October 07, 2013
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11:45 am - 12:45 pm
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Derek Willis, Interactive News Developer, The New York Times
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Data+Journalism: A Duke Speakers Series

Derek Willis, an interactive news developer with The New York Times will deliver the first "Data+Journalism: A Duke Speaker Series" talk.Seventy years ago, H.G. Wells pronounced newspapers "dead as a mutton" and predicted that people would prefer to receive news updates via the phone. The newspaper industry gave the matter little thought and made even fewer preparations. Once again, journalists are confronted with a remarkable shift in how information is produced and consumed, and our response has been, by and large, anemic.Modern technology is less a cause of journalism's problems than an opportunity for better reporting. Today there is no formula for how to do journalism, and no single form of it. Journalists must be more than just technology users; they need to help create systems built for their unique duties.While not every journalism job can be improved with automation, computers can help by providing broader context, ever-vigilant sentinels for news, and the ability to test theories-our own and our sources-before publication. This talk covers ways that computing informs reporting at The New York Times and other news organizations, and unrealized opportunities for software and hardware engineers to make journalism better.The series is jointly organized by the Department of Computer Science and DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy, with support from the Dean of the Faculty of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, and the Knight Foundation.