Tagjay rosen

The Four Types of Scoops

Jay Rosen recently presented his own theory of scoops:

Type One: The enterprise scoop. “Where the news would not have come out without the enterprising work of the reporter who dug it out.”

Type Two: The ego scoop. “This is where the news would have come out anyway–typically because it was announced or would have been announced–but some reporter managed to get ahead of the field and break it before anyone else.”

Type Three: The traders scoop. “This is the most ambiguous of my categories. It recognizes that there can be situations in which, for the general public, ‘who got it first?’ is next-to meaningless, but for a special category of user–the traders, investors, arbitrageurs–minutes and even seconds can count.”

Type Four: The thought scoop. “The most under-recognized type of scoop is the intellectual scoop: ‘stories with new insights’ that coin terms, define trends, or apprehend–name and frame–something that’s happening out there… before anyone else recognizes it.”

In my rant Getting Scoops Is Not (Necessarily) the Same as “Doing Journalism”., I’m basically talking about the difference between what Rosen calls “enterprise scoops” and “ego scoops.” The thing is, ego scoops do matter financially to tech publications – the first blog to get a story will generally be rewarded with more traffic. Because of that, I don’t judge my fellow tech reporters chasing these sorts of scoops, in fact I do it myself. The unfortunate thing though is that the tech journalism community seems to have lost track of the difference between enterprise and ego scoops (as have quit a few other journalistic communities, I take it).

There can be a degree of luck involved in getting enterprise scoops as well. Being the in the right place at the right time when someone mentions something. A lot of the dirty work is actually done by non-profit “wachdog” organizations. But it also means recognizing a real story, and doing the digging and fact checking to turn it into something substantial and not just a quick hit gossip piece. It means developing sources so that you’re the person that gets a tip.

Edge 2011: What Scientific Concept Would Improve Everybody’s Cognitive Toolkit?

The Thinker by Rodin

This year’s Edge question was: “What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?” There are some good but somewhat boring answers, like Susan Blackmore’s or Kevin Kelly’s. But here are some of the more interesting ones I found:

Stewart Brand: Microbes Run the World

Nicholas Carr: Cognitive Load

Aubrey de Grey: A Sense Of Proportion About Fear Of The Unknown

Jonah Lehrer: Control Your Spotlight

Evgeny Morozov: Einstellung Effect

Jay Rosen: Wicked Problems

Douglas Rushkoff: Technologies Have Biases

Nassim Taleb: Antifragility — or— The Property Of Disorder-Loving Systems

I would especially recommend reading both Carr’s and Lehrer’s.

There are a ton of these, so I haven’t read them all, so there could be some gems out there I missed. What are your favorites?

If I’d been asked, I’d have chosen one of the following:

1. The idea of systematic ideology – that people choose what to believe based on ideology, not reason (an idea also supported by research indicating that facts can actually backfire when trying to change someone’s mind). Systematic ideology, named by George Walford, was proposed in 1947 by Harold Walsby. The idea is now being pursued by the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School, though they don’t use the term and may not be aware of Walsby’s and Walford’s work.

2. The Decline Effect.

Photo by Andrew Horne

The Economist: Seven Questions for Jay Rosen

Jay Rosen

Good interview with Jay Rosen in The Economist:

DiA: Media is a business, and many of the media outlets that are doing the best business are those that tell their audiences what they want to hear, and those that pursue the politics-as-horse-race model. So how do we change the incentives in order to make the media more informative? Or does the public simply get the media it deserves?

Mr Rosen: Is The Economist in the business of telling its readers what they want to hear? Is that how the magazine is edited? I doubt it. But I hear the business is doing pretty well. So how is that possible? Look: the alternative to chasing clicks is building trust and an editorial brand. “What people want” arguments don’t impress me. I think anyone with a half a brain knows that you have to listen to demand and give people what they have no way to demand. You have to listen to them, and assert your authority from time to time, because listening well is what gives you the authority to recommend what is not immediately in demand.

The Economist: Seven Questions for Jay Rosen

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