An interesting article by Nieman Lab explores the potential relationship between computer science and journalism as discussed in a recent summit called the Computation + Journalism Symposium. I had no idea that this was something this was a discussion being had, and after reading a little about it I think that it’s a very forward thinking and smart to consider.
The future education of aspiring journalists was one of the topics discussed. One idea was to teach them how to create tools that would better suit journalists in gathering and vetting information, rather than just relying on what’s already available. Another, more related to the business side, is being able to use tools to maximize public exposure for ads and stories. This way the public would be better informed and news outlets would earn more revenue.
I find this really exciting as someone who is learning in what I’d call a transitional time period. There are multiple times I’ve heard from journalists in the past that despite the struggles in the field, it is an exciting time to be a studying to be a journalist because of the new ideas being developed right now. I can’t help but think that this is one of those ideas that they were talking about.
Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to see this sort of thing first hand. I would think it’s a way off, if it’s even feasible. There’s always a question of how to go about projects like the ones proposed here and how to fund them. Who knows? Maybe as Stony Brook continues to evolve their journalism program, they’ll implement one of the ideas at this summit. Then maybe I’ll feel like how older people who didn’t grow up with the internet felt — out of touch with the latest technology. Or at least finding that learning about something new can be daunting.
I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the 2014 summit.