Friday, January 9, 2009

Trade Associations: Common Sense Systematically Applied

Found this morning at The site is maintained by Matt Thompson. So far, it's the best place I've found to cut through the blablabla about newspapers and journalism.

He said
"I’d like to see those questions answered — systematically, transparently, comprehensively and collaboratively."
That's what "common sense systematically applied" means. Another word for a similar approach is science. Wouldn't it be cool if our Printing Trade Associations used some of their dues to do a similar thing for us? Or if any trade associations put some real focus on this approach?

Of course, my research project concerns knowledge accumulation. But as I’ve been saying more and more recently, I also want us to get much more systematic about compiling information on how to evolve journalism. And a growing chorus of voices seem to be converging on this point.

For example: after coming to Mizzou in December, David Westphal put out a call for information to create a database of independent news sites. (He started creating that database in October, profiling a number of independent news start-ups in a week-long series.) When it’s live, if it’s well taken-care-of, this database will become a spectacular resource.

I posted another example recently, Chris Amico’s stellar compendium of tools for news.

Can we also start compiling different approaches to funding, from micro-patronage to flyerboards to ad auction networks, along with some information about how different approaches are working?

Earlier, I mentioned that I was searching for great questions. We definitely need more of those, as Mark Hamilton argues in a post today. And these projects demonstrate how I’d like to see those questions answered — systematically, transparently, comprehensively and collaboratively. And this probably isn’t the last you’ll hear from me on this.

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