Sunday, February 12, 2012

From My Room to the Driscoll Bridge...and then there's Jarvis

So I kinda ran around outside...except I was walking and I went back inside and sat down in front of my computer again. Sigh. Oh well. Anyway back to Jarvis. I think what he said made a lot of sense. Traditional journalists have this idea of how the media system should work and how people should fit into that idea but his graph of the "Me-Sphere" is a much more accurate description of how I get my news.

Here I literally copy and pasted his little illustration for you so you don't even have to go through the trouble of following a link...

From what I can see the biggest 'bubbles' in the "Me-Sphere" are 'peers' and 'Search' which is exactly how I get my news these days...if you read my post from a couple days ago Leaking My Sources you will see what I mean. I guess Jarvis and I are on the same brain wave because that's basically exactly what I describe. Only, he explains it in a much simpler, more concise and intelligent manner. 

I noticed that one of the comments on Jarvis' article criticized him for saying that, "Now a story never begins and it never ends. But at some point in the life of a story, a journalist (working wherever) may see the idea and then can get all kinds of new input. But the story itself — in whatever medium — is merely a blip on the line, a stage in a process, for that process continues after publication." 
He included this illustration of his point: 


The commenter wrote: "A couple observations, I don’t agree with the story architecture you are propsing(sic) or with the notion of a never ending story. The idea that we can continue to maintain a story alive indefinitely when in fact the story has died or it is no longer relevant is unwarranted. Even if was relevant we would be looking from 20/20 hind sight which by definition it would put the story in historical context and not within the journalistic purview..."

The commentor actually wrote a great deal more but this is the basic gist of his argument. This reminded me of the discussion we had in class about "well if it's new information to me, doesn't it still count as news?" In class we decided that there is a difference between history and news. That even if a person never knew about an event that has long past it does not count as news when they find out about it. Said person has only learned a historical fact. The commenter is making a point similar to ours in that he believes that after a certain amount of time any further analysis of the story become historical analysis rather than a journalistic analysis.

Before I read the New York Times yesterday I would have agreed with the commenter, but here are a couple articles I read that have made me second guess my original stance.


Story number 1 is about the famous portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln and how, after all these years, it has been determined a hoax. Some guy way back decided to take advantage of the Lincoln family (after Abe and Mary had been dead for a while) and concocted this crazy story about how Mary had the portrait made for Abe but he was assassinated before she could give it to him. In reality it's a picture of some random woman who only kinda looks like Mary that the guy painted over. Now is this story News or history?

Story number 2 is about how the revolution in Egypt today is a whole lot like the revolution in 1954 different people, different regime, and add Facebook into the mix (ah good old FB) and there you go. Almost the same situation. News or history?

Even now I keep going back and forth in my head, News or History? News or History? I think I've decided that Jarvis' point is that the news has an infinite capacity to expand. Not that it necessarily will or won't. As you can see with the two articles I presented history may become news and news may become history. What was not relevant can suddenly become relevant once more. I think stories like story number 2 are important because if you strictly adhere to reporting only what can be defined as new:


[nooz, nyooz] noun ( usually used with a singular verb )

a report of a recent event; intelligence; information: (news)
having but lately or but now come into knowledge: (new)
 Than you miss out on correlations and connections that would have brought a broader perspective and greater knowledge of the subject. If journalists don't take these connections into consideration aren't they neglecting their duty to inform the public?


[in-fawrm] verb (used without object)
to give information;  supply knowledge or enlightenment
Oh, and if you would like to go through the trouble of following a is Jarvis' original blog post.  

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