Friday, Patrick Pexton, Washington Post Ombudsman, wrote an attention-grabbing article titled “Is The Post Innovating too fast?” It received swift and almost universal condemnation. It deserved to be criticized, but I also think the response overlooks some of the column’s good points.
Making simple things complicated
Perhaps you saw this terrific story in the New York Times yesterday about a Manhattan artist who specializes in kinetic art. What he especially enjoys is building modern-day Rube Goldberg devices.
Today was my day at “American Corner,” where locals come to hear an American speak in his/her native tongue. I was asked to discuss social media and its role in creating a civil society, a topic I’m sure a great many American journalists would consider a contradiction in terms.
I began my talk by showing some examples of journalism in which engaging with readers improved the quality of the reporting. This included Sunlight’s live blog, our 180 degree project, projects I worked on at USA TODAY, and projects from the New York Times and other media organizations. The audience seemed suitably swayed that social media could be a tool for good and not just for teens or evil (as if there’s a difference).