Online Journalism vs. Print Journalism: Real Time vs. Batch Processing

from the think-about-it dept

Last week, there was a bit of a silly fight over the NY Times publishing an article noting that blogs sometimes publish rumors. I didn’t find the story to be all that bad, actually, as it did a fair job explaining why those blogs publish rumors without confirmation, and how they do it in a reasonable way (i.e., saying it’s a rumor and hasn’t been confirmed). Some felt the article was a hit piece, but on the whole it actually seemed pretty reasonable and accurate. Still, in response to that, Cody Brown (via Jay Rosen) put up a fascinating and thought-provoking writeup comparing online to print journalism — noting that print is “batch processing” while online is “real-time processing” and explaining why this makes it so difficult for print to either understand the value of online journalism, or to keep up with it. To be honest, I think the point was made even clearer in last week’s hilarious Daily Show takedown of the NY Times, where Jason Jones refers to the newspaper as “aged news” and asks Rick Berke, the assistant managing editor to point out a single article in today’s newspaper that “happened today” (at around 3 minutes):

Separately, I should point out that I find it amusing that around 1:45, the video quotes Kristin Mason, the NYT’s communications coordinator, noting that “The NY Times really prides itself on making sure that the information we’re putting out in the newspaper and online is factual. We have editors going through and checking on a variety of sources….”

Fair enough… But what happened on Friday? That’s when the NY Times falsely reported that The Pirate Bay had lost its appeal… and that false story has remained uncorrected at least up until I published this story. It appears that the “pride” the NY Times takes in getting the story right doesn’t necessarily extend to things like The Pirate Bay.

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Comments on “Online Journalism vs. Print Journalism: Real Time vs. Batch Processing”

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Anonymous Coward says:

“But what happened on Friday? That’s when the NY Times falsely reported that The Pirate Bay had lost its appeal… and that false story has remained uncorrected at least up until I published this story.”

I just knew you would start linking to that one! Can’t resist, can you?

“It appears that the “pride” the NY Times takes in getting the story right doesn’t necessarily extend to things like The Pirate Bay. “

Sort of like your pride in knowing how many seats the pirate party got?

The print media has the unhappy problem of actually printing. You have the ability to rapidly go back and edit, the NYT isn’t going to go rip pages out of consumers hands and hand them new ones all day.

Basically, technology has yet to make it possible to hold an electronic newspaper in your hands (kindle is closest, and still not very good at it), and that it what the public demands before newspapers will go away.

You can’t stop selling buggy whips until that new fangled auto-mo-bile thing actually works.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If the NY Times was banging its drum by claiming that they always check facts before printing a news story, and then publishes a story that you can proof wasn’t fact-checked, then why not point it out?

Indeed, the NYT can’t exactly update the printed newspaper on the fly, but that’s no excuse to not update the website when new information comes forward. The NYT should not treat their website as a complete mirror to their dead-tree product. The two (print+online) can complement each other, it’s not an Or/Or situation.

I also doubt right now that the general public wants a Kindle like device to read newspapers on. Unless that device becomes a lot cheaper.

yogi says:

Pride in what?

I bet it’s the same pride that allows them to hire local stringers who have no journalistic ethic (or training, usually) to report on areas where their own reporters, local or not, would be killed if they told the truth.

And doing this second hand by using AP material is no less unethical and cowardly. Although i admit it is cheaper.

Oh well, I guess you get the journalism you pay for…

pat donovan (profile) says:


new videos suggestions.. (soryy, but the booksstores and mad racks are going bankrupt by the droves here)

how about a attack of common sense?

(my last suggestion was applied data minging for fun and profit. i want to be paid for this, too)

newspapers are dying.. yet the comics page os still being stolen out of coffee shops (HINT)

web 2.0 is going broke, except for craiglist’s 100 million in personal ads

RIAA 30,000 to zero no wins. (IRAC., min of denfense, NWO , that sort of thing)

conservatives attack at gun point , get rich, leave the rubble behind (canada’s nuke med isotopes, ie:)

just a few suggestions..

stalking millionaires – the comic!

Bob says:

The Citizen Journalist

I think back to the beginnings of our republic, when the press was in a small shop. Printing a small newspaper of less than 10 pages length for the most part. All accomplished by one or two men with passion in their hearts.
Time progressed until we had national newspaper chains printing what they wanted us to read, while the small shop had the mimeograph. Radio started to grow along with Television. But still the citizen journalist could be found expressing his ideas.
Time of course did not stand still, but the national consolidation of News outlets continued at a rapid pace, until all news became one news. Still the citizen journalist was able to get his ideas out with the use of the photocopier at less expanse than before.
Now we come to the present time where an elitist group the so called main stream media (MSM) has homogenized news to the ideals of it’s corporate ownership. All the while the MSM journalists sniff and turn their collective noses skyward at the thought of the citizen journalist. Because today one man with a computer and an internet connection can influence the masses of the world.
As I begin to fear the tyranny of my government, I know that I posses the ultimate weapon. Freedom of the press (the citizen journalist) with the ability to radicalize (go back to the roots of) the republic.
I would make only one change to the constitution, everywhere it says “the right of the people” I would change that to “the right of the individual” just to make things clear.

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