David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
from the world's big
Start Learning

Computation + Journalism: A Paradigm Shift

Last week, I had the honor of speaking at the second Computation + Journalism Symposium hosted by my alma mater, the Georgia Institute of Technology.  The basic question asked by the symposium was simple:  what role does computation have to play in the practice of journalism today--and, of course, in the future?  After all, journalism is affected by technology in myriad ways.  Between breaking news Tweets, Facebook curation and automated data aggregation, those who work in the field need to understand these trends and how they affect our work.  Otherwise, they're likely to find themselves lost in the muddle.

The symposium matched journalists with computer scientists to talk sports, image manipulation, data, tools and healthcare.  It was a fascinating group--and despite very different backgrounds and goals, it soon became clear that many of us had the same feelings about how, where and why technology is changing the field.  We've seen firsthand that journalism, as a field, is in chaos.  Yet that chaos provides us a lot of opportunity.

Here are a few of the key points I took away from the meeting:

1.  A journalist doesn't have to be a graduate of journalism school.  Just someone who is using critical thinking and the scientific method to help report the news.  (And as an aside, we need to be teaching more critical thinking and scientific method to everyone--journalists and computer scientists alike).

2.  In a 24 hour news cycle (with extra Tweets and Facebook updates to help push both information and misinformation), verification is even more important that ever before.

3.  The Internet means that it's easier for utter junk to be posted as news.  But it also means that it's easier to fix it.

4.  News is inherently social.  Consumers appreciate the ability to share news--but also want to add their own opinion/take on it.  Instead of it happening at the water cooler, it's now happening with social media.

5.  With so much "stuff" out there in the ether, attention economy is crucial.  So is trust.

6.  One image, which may be a doctored image, can change the world.  Again, verification is paramount. 

But don't just take my word for it, videos of all the sessions are now available online.  For a good time, I highly recommend the "Image Manipulation in the News" session with Dartmouth's Hany Farid and Storyful's David Clinch

And in the meantime, what do you think?  How has/is computation changing the field of journalism?  How should it?

Photo credit:  Computation + Journalism Symposium 2013

LIVE EVENT | Radical innovation: Unlocking the future of human invention

Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo

Keep reading Show less

NASA's idea for making food from thin air just became a reality — it could feed billions

Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.

Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
  • Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
  • The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Keep reading Show less

Navy SEALs: How to build a warrior mindset

SEAL training is the ultimate test of both mental and physical strength.

  • The fact that U.S. Navy SEALs endure very rigorous training before entering the field is common knowledge, but just what happens at those facilities is less often discussed. In this video, former SEALs Brent Gleeson, David Goggins, and Eric Greitens (as well as authors Jesse Itzler and Jamie Wheal) talk about how the 18-month program is designed to build elite, disciplined operatives with immense mental toughness and resilience.
  • Wheal dives into the cutting-edge technology and science that the navy uses to prepare these individuals. Itzler shares his experience meeting and briefly living with Goggins (who was also an Army Ranger) and the things he learned about pushing past perceived limits.
  • Goggins dives into why you should leave your comfort zone, introduces the 40 percent rule, and explains why the biggest battle we all face is the one in our own minds. "Usually whatever's in front of you isn't as big as you make it out to be," says the SEAL turned motivational speaker. "We start to make these very small things enormous because we allow our minds to take control and go away from us. We have to regain control of our mind."
Keep reading Show less

How COVID-19 will change the way we design our homes

Pandemic-inspired housing innovation will collide with techno-acceleration.

Maja Hitij/Getty Images
COVID-19 is confounding planning for basic human needs, including shelter.
Keep reading Show less
Scroll down to load more…