Thursday, March 26, 2009

Into the hemisphere of the unknown

Matt Thompson is onto something important.

His recent explorations into the notion of context as a key to journalism keep getting sharper and deeper. Looking at what happens when "news" moves beyond facts and events, he's charting a future territory for public service journalism with the promise of reasserting the role of skilled professionals.

You ought to be reading his field notes at Newsless.

Here is a taste from the latest post:

Journalism has long been described as a sort of cartography. But in news, local news especially, we almost never actually draw a map. Instead, we furnish a daily series of notable waypoints: at this intersection, you’ll find company layoffs; go down that road a stretch and you’ll bump into some public corruption ...

... Part of my goal is to help chart in ever-greater detail the former terrain – capturing the accumulated wisdom of our editors and reporters, our mayor and councilpersons, our developers, our activists, our supermarket clerks, our postal workers, our opera singers. And what I hope becomes the goal of my profession is to dispatch that body of explorers into the hemisphere of the unknown, toward the infinite task of claiming land from the wilderness

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