The Weekly Illumination — Issue 11

Welcome to the the Weekly Illumination, a JTM newsletter offering a quick look at the week in journalism with a focus on what’s working in today’s news ecology. In this week’s Illumination we’ll look at the news about Twitter outside of the IPO, mark the end of yet another print publication, and explore what the future of journalism may hold.

Community media starts with community

This week, the Illuminations Blog looks at Silicon Valley De-Bug, a community organization founded by Raj Jayadev more than 10 years ago. One De-Bug project helps community members who are facing jail or prison by creating short biographical documentaries for use in the courtroom. These five-minute videos help the families of the accused to tell their stories with the context and impact that simply isn’t possible through traditional testimony or a letter to the judge, he said.

Reflections on the changing news ecology

With Jeff Bezos the sole owner of the Washington Post, Ralph Nader wants to know whose views the Post’s editorials will represent. In an open letter, Nader calls for the paper to restore its ombudsman position and requests Bezos’ assurance that he won’t influence any copy in paper without disclosing his involvement.

But if Jay Rosen’s predictions ring true, the objective-reporting model embraced by the Post and other traditional news outlets may eventually be replaced by a more collaborative news model.

“They can see the advantages in personal voice and persuasive power that accrues to the Glenn Greenwalds and other practitioners of the personal franchise model in news. They understand that the people formerly known as the audience want to participate more in the news and that the insiders are less trusted than ever,” said Rosen.

The newsrooms at newspapers across the country have been uprooted and transplanted to smaller, more affordable locales. Although the moves are obviously driven by money, today’s news rooms better serve the needs of digital-first publications, reports Nikki Usher for Nieman Journalism Lab.

“The written word will be less relevant” -Tina Brown

Now that Tina Brown is no longer in publishing, she had no reason to stand up for the industry in her talk at the THinK festival. Brown said that “TV is dead” and that she thinks people “can have more satisfaction from live conversations.”

In vaguely related news The Onion announced that it will no longer publish a print edition.

So what can local publishers do to ensure their survival? Look to the success of Starbucks, says Brian Ostrovsky in an article for Street Fight.

News organizations Tweet like teenagers

Even though research shows that almost half of Twitter news consumers are between the ages of 18 and 29 years old, it doesn’t mean that news outlets need to Tweet with the voice of a star-struck child.

An article in the New York Observer points out a litany of embarrassing tweets that have sputtered out of accounts belonging to the New York Daily News and even Mother Jones.


Apparently those Tweet buttons that make it super easy to share your content on Twitter aren’t as necessary as they once were, reports Joshua Benton at Nieman Journalism Lab.

Odds and ends & odd ends

Job(s) of the week

BloomReach, a big-data marketing company, is looking to hire someone to tell the company’s story and is encouraging journalists to apply.

JTM is looking for freelancers to write about successful journalism initiatives and is paying up to $250 per story.


The Illumination is a curated collection of stories about journalism innovation, notable job opportunities, grants and updates about Journalism that Matters. It is distributed to e-mail subscribers, through the JTM Google Group, and posted to the Illuminations blog.