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Nicholas Kristof: journalism's going digital - and into games

Nicholas Kristof: journalism's going digital - and into games

The crucial marriage between print and digital and the path to integration does not involve just news organizations and brands. It is also a question of attitude, and therefore people.

Nicholas Kristof, well-known reporter for the New York Times, provides an example of an experienced journalist who is embracing new digital opportunities.

David D. Burnstein of Fast Company spoke to him about how print and traditional journalism (and journalists) can jump into the digital world and social networks.

Kristof's background would stand the most traditional test of trustworthy journalism: his coverage on the genocide in Darfur won him a Pulitzer Prize, as did his reporting on protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989 which he wrote with his wife. He teaches young journalists how to report from developing countries through his Win a Trip contest project.

But, as the article underlines, he was also the first journalist to have a blog on the New York Times website back in 2003 and he's an active user of Facebook and Twitter, with more than 314,000 Facebook fans and 1,215,000 Twitter followers.

What's more, his plans for 2012 involve venturing into news games.

The new multimedia world gives journalists the chance to start a real dialogue with readers. Readers want to participate and get involved.

Social media at their very early stages immediately seemed to be part of where the future was going, he said. Twitter has been a valuable source during the Arab uprisings he claimed. "I wouldn't necessarily trust that information, but it gave me ideas about questions to ask", he told Fast Company.

This new approach is not going to be a controversial Kristof stressed in the article as "in some ways, it's just an adaptation of traditional journalistic approaches". "I used to call a bunch of experts about who I should interview in Haiti. I still do that, but now I also send inquires through social media. That change feels incremental. We're moving from a format where we "proclaimed the news" to the world on a fixed schedule to one where we converse with the world on a 24/7 basis", he said.

However what Kristof thinks could be the next big platform for news organization is gaming. The problems of games is that they are not always taken seriously, and they are banished to a teenager-y activity. However, sometimes they can prove to be very powerful to news organizations.

Burnstein reported that Kristof and his wife are doing a TV documentary of their book Half the Sky, which will include a Facebook game as part of it. It will be "vaguely analogous to FarmVille," he said.

Video, social media, new platforms, games: there's a whole world to experiment with out of the traditional ways to report and doing journalism. It is up to news organizations to discover it.

Sources: FastCompany



Federica Cherubini


2012-01-12 18:41

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