Techdirt Saves* Journalism (And Sells Some T-Shirts)
from the join-us... dept
Today we’re announcing an event that we’re holding on June 16th, in the evening, at Google’s offices in Mountain View. It’s not your ordinary panel/speaker event. It’s based on the Techdirt Greenhouse series of events that we’ve done over the years, where the focus is on getting lots of smart people together in a room and brainstorming to come up with solutions to certain issues. In the past, those have often been issues faced by a particular organization, but back in January, at Midem, we tried it on a specific industry: the music industry. The results were fantastic, so we’ve decided to start doing similar brainstorming workshops in other areas, and this one is our first, entitled “Techdirt Saves* Journalism.”
Obviously, the focus is on brainstorming ideas to help the journalism market. It will kick off with three short presentations: one by me, one by Google economist Hal Varian, who’s been doing a ton of fantastic work on newspaper economics, and one by Ian Rogers, the CEO of Topspin, one of a growing group of companies that is helping to reinvent the music business. That last one might seem a bit confusing — since this event is all about the journalism industry — but that’s very much part of the point. These brainstorming sessions work best by bringing in people with very different perspectives. We don’t want this to just be journalists/newspaper people, but have already begun inviting a wide range of folks with diverse backgrounds, well beyond journalism. There will be plenty of journalism/media folks there, as well. But we thought that Ian could provide some perspective about how some parts of the music industry have responded (successfully) to the challenge of the internet, and that could be great in getting people thinking differently and creatively.
These events are highly interactive — so if you’re coming, expect to participate. Following the brief presentations, attendees will be broken out into small brainstorming groups, and we’ll have about an hour to workshop and brainstorm (with some guidance) to try to come up with creative ideas and ways to help save journalism. After that we’ll regroup, share some of the best ideas, and then partake of some food and drink.
The event is being both sponsored and hosted graciously by Google — which shouldn’t come as a surprise, given how much effort the company is putting into trying to help the journalism business succeed (that Atlantic article is a fantastic read).
To commemorate this occasion, we’re also releasing our latest t-shirt design. Given the massive success of our limited edition DMCA t-shirt (seriously, we sold way more of those than we expected), we thought we’d follow it up with a special paywall t-shirt. Sporting a typical online newspaper paywall design, you can use this paywall t-shirt to make sure folks pay up before finishing their conversation with you. After all, without people paying to talk to you, how would you ever be incented to produce the sort of quality conversations they want? If you’d like to attend the Techdirt Saves* Journalism workshop, you can reserve a spot here — and we’ll throw in the t-shirt! If you can’t attend the event, but still want your very own paywall t-shirt, that option is right here.
We look forward to seeing you on June 16th!
- On the title of the event, Techdirt Saves Journalism, we’re adding this particular disclaimer to ward off those who might have missed the joke and are about to accuse us of massive hubris. The reference is a mocking response to the regular headlines you see every few days about “newspapers are dying” or “so-and-so is ‘killing’ journalism.” We figured that if there was so much hyperbole around an industry dying based on misread data points, we might as well hit back with a mocking claim that this single event will clearly save journalism. Oh yeah, also, one of our regular critics in the comments recently started claiming that we had said we could save journalism, even though we made no such claim. However, if we’re going to get slammed for making the claim anyway, we might as well embrace it and see what we can do. So, for the really literally minded of you out there, we don’t think this event alone will “save journalism.” That’s just a joke. But it should be insightful, enlightening and educational for all involved. And, who knows, perhaps some idea will be hatched that does, in fact, help journalism avoid the fate in all those headlines we keep seeing…