A new form of Journalism?

Journalism has been reinventing itself for generations. From print, radio, broadcast and now the web, people have become versed in adapting to the ever changing medium. In Rachel Leone’s article “Mashup Man”, she examines how Adrian Holovaty has innovated reporting and presenting information on the web.

Adrian Holovaty has been changing the game of journalism. His experience with not only journalism but also computer science has helped him create new forms of presenting information. ‘Mashups’ is where databases and graphics mash together to create a creative and easy to use website. Holovaty’s first experience with a mashup came when created Chicagocrime.org. Seen as one of the fist mashups on the web, Holovaty combined crimes reported to the Chicago Police Department on a Google map of the city. Another contribution he made was being one of two people to create the U.S. Congress Votes Database at the Washingtonpost Newsweek Interactive. One can sort congressional votes by categories such as state and party affiliation. The database was created so that it can update itself by taking the most recent information from other web sites.

Holovaty is an innovator and paving the way for an entirely new form of journalism. The argument is whether creating a place where information is gathered and put together in a user friendly way is actually considered journalism. This skews far from the traditional teaching of journalism but that is exactly where our society is heading. People are less concerned with who actually collects the data and more with how they can easily obtain it and understand it. Information has been being presented for generations in a traditional format but has just recently in the past twenty years had to adapt to emerging form of the internet. With this new medium come the new types of journalists or mashup men such as Holovaty. Executive editor at washingtonpost.com Jim Brady said Holovaty has figured out how to collect data, synthesize it and convert it into an understandable format to give readers a deeper understanding. Holovaty has raised the bar and introduced a whole new way of delivering information.

Holovaty is very outspoken on how news organizations are afraid of change or they are too old to understand the Internet. While a bold statement, the truth stands that news organizations have to either adapt to the changing technological environment or fall far behind. By accepting and integrating new technology quickly into their business gives the best recipe for success.

Another change that should be noted is the growing need for journalists with computer science backgrounds. Schools have already started seeing the need for an understanding of the web to be integrated into journalism programs. Introducing a convergence degree in computer science and journalism will not only help the future journalists to understand the new media and trends but also help encourage tech savvy individuals to pursue journalism. By accepting the new trend of journalism, it can be assured that journalism stays relevant and innovative.

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