About Josh Korr

As a Publish2 editor, Josh Korr is helping develop the tools for collaborative link journalism that will power the next generation of online news delivery. He also works with journalists to help integrate those tools into their everyday lives. Previously, Josh was a news editor on the team that developed and launched tbt*-Tampa Bay Times, a free daily tabloid aimed at 25- to 39-year-olds that's published by the St. Petersburg Times. In 2007, tbt* received a first-place award for innovation from the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors; it is now one of the fastest-growing newspapers in the country. Josh has also been a copy editor for the St. Petersburg Times and the Valley News in New Hampshire, and he writes about pop culture when he finds the time. His entertainment writing has won numerous Society of Professional Journalists awards, and in 2007 his video game blog won first place in a competition recognizing the best journalism in 11 Southeastern states; the blog placed third in 2008. Josh now blogs at Korrvalues.com. Email: josh.korr (at) publish2 (dot) com

Posts by Josh Korr

January 25th

Why local-news aggregation is useful information, not information overload

 3 Comments

My post on the Washington state linking project focused on the awesome innovation involved and on the benefits of collaborative linking in general. But the project also shows why this kind of news aggregation is so useful for a local audience.

The biggest danger with news aggregation is that instead of acting as a filter, it can sometimes add to readers’ information overload. I read Andrew Sullivan’s blog as much for his links as for his original posts, but some days his link-blogging is just too prolific for me. (As Howard Owens put it: “To all the bloggers in my RSS reader: You post too frequently. Stop it. Let me catch up, for a change.”)

Commenter Matthias Spielkamp worried that the Washington link project might have had this effect: “I don’t have the time to read through 25 different stories to get a picture of the situation.”

But we shouldn’t mistake a long list of links for confusing overload just because it looks like overload from afar. The closer readers are to a story or event, the more they want to know about it and the less overloaded they’ll feel.

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January 9th

Networked link journalism: A revolution quietly begins in Washington state

 39 Comments

The discussion about journalism’s future so often focuses on Big Changes — Kill the print edition! Flips for everyone! Reinvent business models NOW! — that it’s easy to forget how simple innovation can be.

Sometimes all you need is a few Tweets, a bunch of links, and some like-minded pioneers.

That’s how a quiet revolution began in Washington state Wednesday. Four journalists spontaneously launched one of the first experiments in collaborative (or networked) link journalism to cover a major local story.

But it gets better. Those four journalists weren’t in the same newsroom. In fact, they all work for different media companies. And here’s the best part: Some of them have never even met in person.

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December 8th

Crowdsourcing, citizen journalism, and the lesson of scrapbook news

 14 Comments

I want to further explore the idea of “scrapbook news” as a way of reframing the crowdsourcing/citizen journalism discussion.

One reason mainstream news organizations haven’t embraced the concepts may be that the spirit (if not the letter) of the cit-j discussion tends to focus on the people involved rather than the news being covered. That is, the tonal takeaway is often something like “Who needs professional journalists? Throw the useless bums out of their tower!”

These ideas might get a better reception if the discussion instead focused on which kinds of news are best suited to coverage by people outside the newsroom.

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December 8th

Why not writing a story is innovation

 43 Comments

Discussions about journalism innovation usually focus on technology: Twitter, RSS, Flash, Django, data visualization, and all the other cool stuff that’s making online news so rich.

But there’s an equally important conceptual aspect of journalism innovation. Newsrooms have to rethink the kind of stories they cover and the way they tell those stories, or all the new technologies could be wasted on news that readers don’t find relevant or interesting.

To do this, they have to practice innovation-by-omission. That is, they need to stop writing stories that don’t deserve to be written.

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October 13th

Nervous About Link Journalism? Ignore Web’s ‘Cesspool’ And Tap Its ‘Natural Spring’

 10 Comments

There are several reasons why most mainstream news organizations have been slow to embrace link journalism.

First, news orgs typically act as though other news orgs don’t exist (blame long-standing notions of “owning” the news, and more recent unjustified fears of sending readers away). Second, news orgs had few mechanisms for breaking out of that walled-garden mentality online — for finding good stories among the web’s reaches, and delivering those stories to readers — even if they wanted to.

But there’s a third, more fundamental, barrier to linking: Many journalists worry about the wild wild web.

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October 7th

The New AP

 20 Comments

Matt Thompson and Jeff Jarvis have been doing some important thinking on how news coverage needs to change in the Internet Age. They argue that a flow of shallow, time-dependent stories no longer works as a foundation for helping readers understand the world.

Thompson started a blog devoted to exploring an alternative. He writes in the introductory post:

Until recently, newspaper editors defined news as “important developments over the past 24 hours.” … My understanding of journalism is broader. To me, journalism is the constant effort to deliver a truer picture of the world as it is. The “latest developments” provide one lens through which to capture that picture. And as long as journalism was primarily delivered by static media, that lens made perfect sense.

The Web, however, makes possible other ways of delivering that picture of our evolving world. It allows us to shirk the tyranny of recency and place more emphasis on context – the information that often gets buried beneath the news.

Jarvis takes the idea further:

[A] discrete and serial series of articles over days cannot adequately cover the complex stories going on now nor can they properly inform the public. There’s too much repetition. Too little explanation. The knowledge is not cumulative. Each instance is necessarily shallow. And when more big stories come — as they have lately! — in scarce time and space and with scarce resources, each becomes even shallower. We never catch up, we never get smarter. Articles perpetuate a Ground Hog Day kind of journalism.

[snip]

I think the new building block of journalism needs to be the topic. … I want a page, a site, a thing that is created, curated, edited, and discussed.

I agree with both of them. (Disclosure: Matt’s a friend, and Jarvis is on the board of Publish2, where I’m an editor.) But there’s an ink-stained elephant in the room that needs to be faced if Thompson’s feeling that “we’re on the verge of an epochal advancement in journalism” is to come true.

I’m talking, of course, about the Associated Press.

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September 17th

Explaining the Financial Crisis: Continuously Updated News Aggregation in Action

 4 Comments

Scott framed his previous challenge to news sites in general terms: like Drudge, any site could use continuously updated aggregation to become a “destination for links to news of what’s going in the world.” But this kind of aggregation can be just as powerful when applied to specific stories or topics.

For example, you might have noticed that the U.S. financial system seems to be — how to put this delicately? — collapsing. Most readers (and, um, journalists) probably have only the faintest idea of what the heck is going on. Yet this is one case where many people would love some broccoli news, if only it made sense to them.

News sites could help explain the crisis by putting up a continuously updated aggregation of links to the best reporting and commentary. Some sites may already have bloggers linking to these stories, but why not put the links right on the front page? With things as tense and confusing as they are, we shouldn’t make readers hunt for context.
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