At last week's Journalism That Matters: Adapting Journalism to the New News Ecology conference organized by Poynter Institute and Media Giraffe Project, journalists gathered "to help create, define and populate the next digital newsroom wherever it takes root." The three-day conference was a multimedia event with constant Twitter updates from participants, live chats, and video feeds of speakers.
The conference's objectives were first to determine the new roles of journalists and to define the relationship of the media to the public and then take action that will help promote journalism in a changing industry. On his way to the conference, Mark Briggs, CEO of Serra Media, tweeted that his hopes for the conference were to "develop a Code of Innovation to guide new-era news orgs. Then build one."
The conference promoted innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit, promoting an understanding of the tools and resources available to participate in the online news industry. Briggs spoke about examples of independent start-up journalism such as his own Newsgarden, the Huffington Post, and Politico, and he encouraged independent journalists to fill the gaps left by traditional news organizations in investigative journalism and community news.
To aid independent journalists in understanding the tools and resources available to help them break into the world of online news, Django co-creator Jacob Kaplan-Moss and New York Times Interface Engineer Tyson Evans held what they called "geek" sessions and hosted a live chat. David Ardia, director of the Citizen Media Law Project, also hosted a live chat where he answered legal questions facing journalists online.
Participants in the conference worked to distinguish which elements of journalism remain essential--traditional values such as transparency, accuracy, and truth-seeking--and which are disposable--huge institutions based on print or broadcast. They recognized that the media's audience, especially the younger generation, has changed. Instead of dismissing this audience as disinterested or unreachable, journalists must strive to understand how the new generation engages and use this understanding to meet the readers' information needs on the readers' terms. The aim is not to fight to conserve a stagnant traditional media, but, rather to work to adapt to shifting readership and forums in order to continue to provide information while maintaining the integrity of journalism.