Journalism 2.0
How to survive and thrive in the digital age

This blog is a companion to the book I have written. It will teach current (and future) journalists the skills they need to do better journalism with the help of digital technology. More information about the book.


Angry Journalists vs. Wired Journalists

Which would you rather be? Well, you have a choice now, thanks to a pair of new web sites that have launched recently: and The former is is based on the concept of despair, highlighting a seemingly endless stream of public griping without accountability. Here’s the mission statement:

Why are you angry today?
Tell us what’s making you upset at your journalism job.
Anonymity guaranteed. One rule: no real names. 

The latter is based on the concept of hope and empowerment. Here’s the mission statement: was created with self-motivated, eager-to-learn reporters, editors, executives, students and faculty in mind. Our goal is to help journalists who have few resources on hand other than their own desire to make a difference and help journalism grow into its new 21st Century role.

I think it’s pretty easy to tell which group has the brighter future, don’t you?

Posted by MarkBriggs on Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mizzou project hopes to revolutionize journalism

You know when academia is using words like “revolutionize,” there is a serious appetite for change. This is good:

Projects to Revolutionize Journalism Worldwide Unveiled on MU Website

The University of Missouri will officially dedicate the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) in September with the goal of improving journalism around the globe. ... RJI projects address current problems in journalism to find solutions that can be applied worldwide. Professional journalists and researchers, interested citizens and students can access the site and provide ideas, participate in forums, and use research and media tools.

But these are times of hyperbole, so I’ll withold my judgment (but not my hope) that this project will lead to the kind of rapid and substantial change needed in the news business today. The RJI Web site can be found here:

And speaking of hyperbole, did you miss that “The Most Advanced News Site on the Planet” launched this week.



Posted by MarkBriggs on Thursday, February 21, 2008

Will Fast Company alter the digital landscape?

Fast Company recently redesigned its site in a radical fashion. It relegated its editorial content to backseat status and made the homepage an innovative attempt at creating a social network of, and for, its readers. Edward Sussman, the president of the network that runs the site, thinks it will alter the digital landscape.

I’m glad to see a mainstream media company try something truly different. It will allow others to learn from its experience. As I imagine a newspaper trying something like this, I get a headache thinking about the meetings that would be needed to to put all the pieces in place to make such a dramatic shift in strategy.

For a web-centric take on this initiative, check out Jeremiah Owyang’s analysis. My favorite riff:

Expect this to be a success for Fast Company, but they’ll need to act on the previous recommendations. Expect other business publications to quickly launch similar communities, and soon the industry will be inundated with ‘me toos’. The savvy publications will still realize that the web is distributed and won’t limit their community efforts to their corporate domains, but will also spread to where the people are. The savvy fishermen, fish where the fish are.

Can we expect to see newspapers and local news TV stations jumping on board with the “me toos.” took a step in this direction with its last redesign, but this Fast Company has taken a leap off a cliff, not a little step. I wish them the best of luck. It’s time for some dramatic change in this space.



Posted by MarkBriggs on Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Newsvine-MSNBC concept interactive and innovative

I’ve been a fan of the Seattle-based Web 2.0 news site Newsvine since it launched a few years back. Recently the site was acquired by MSNBC, bringing together arguably the best mainstream online news organization with arguably the best independent online news site.

Last week, the two forces produced that type of innovation you would expect. is a conversation-focused page based on NBC-TV’s Nightly News with Brian Williams. Visitors can ask questions of the anchor and - get this - he answers some in a candid, unrehearsed video response following the national broadcast of his show.

Here’s how Newsvine CEO Mike Davidson described it in his blog:

News agency broadcasts the news -> audience discusses the content -> audience shoots back questions to the anchor -> anchor answers (select) questions right on the site

Maybe I’m biased because this is partly my baby, but I just think that is super cool, and super significant.

I also think it’s great that Brian — probably the most recognized face in U.S. National news — answers all questions off the cuff, with no teleprompter, and with a level of frankness you don’t often see on national news broadcasts. In responding to one of the questions, he even mentions his political affiliation (independent), which is rare for news personalities to do.

Posted by MarkBriggs on Tuesday, February 05, 2008


J-Learning is an initiative of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism. J-LabTM is an incubator for innovative, participatory news experiments and is a center of American University's School of Communication in Washington, D.C.
J-Learning was funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

American University School of Communication

Knight Foundation

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

Site design, programming and content by Hop Studios.