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Jay Rosen on How To Digest News

Question: How is it possible to wade through so much news these days?

Jay Rosen: Well, this is a profound question because news today exists in a climate of abundant, whereas before it was sort of a scarcity model. And what I do is follow certain people and blogs and sites that are actually monitoring a much wider range of sources than I am. And so I delegate the work of finding the important news to expert filters, intelligent people who are doing just that, because this is a basic way of creating value on the net. So people who ask me all the time about information overload and isn’t it all too much and, oh, you know, this new age of information is turning to a disaster, and I meet with this kind of hysteria all the time, but actually, if you know who to follow and you know where to look, you can easily profit and benefit from this abundance because the tools for organizing information follow right behind the explosion of information that the net represents.

Question: Should online news aggregators take credit for breaking news?

Jay Rosen: Well, the example you gave was actually someone giving credit to an aggregator for something that appeared at that site, maybe they shouldn’t do that. But, let’s go back to what an aggregator is? What is [Matt Drudge]? What is the drudge report? It’s simply a guy in his apartment finding first new reports to have been posted on the web and collecting those that would be interesting to his audience in one place, that’s all his doing, scanning the web for what’s new and different and interesting. Now, this is something that if the major news media has decided to specialist in it, they could have been very good at from the beginning. They choose not to do that. Why? Because in order to be [Matt Drudge] or the [Huffington Post] or real clear politics or any number of bloggers who link constantly this stuff, you have to do exactly that, send people away from your site, transport them to another domain and the news industry which moans about aggregation didn’t want to develop that art and chose not to. And in fact to this day, most of the major news site don’t link out very often or very [willingly]. So don’t complaint about the drudge if you decided to turn down the art of aggregation and don’t bitch and moan about Google News if you don’t understand how it works and why it’s really a boon for you to be send all that traffic.

Recorded on: 08/19/2008

The NYU Journalism critic on how to digest all the news that prints online.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
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Why is everyone so selfish? Science explains

The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.

Credit: Adobe Stock, Olivier Le Moal.
Personal Growth
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How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

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Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

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Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

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The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
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