Friday, November 26, 2004

A Business Opportunity

Innovation journalism is journalism about innovations (as opposed to innovations in journalism).

Today, all developed industrial economies stand and fall with how well their industries commercialize emerging technologies and research results. Success in innovation brings growth and development, while those who don’t innovate brings stagnation and economical decay. Leading industries and industrial economies that don’t innovate will soon die.

These innovations are not just new inventions. It could also be a new production method, the opening of a new market (like iTunes), or a new form of industry organization like the creation of a monopoly position (for example through trustification), or the breaking up of a monopoly position, (for example the “meritocracy” in open source.)

Tons of scientific reports and economic dissertations have been written about innovation systems. They all point out that you must “facilitate the flow of information and knowledge between the public and the private organisations in the system and especially in public organisations.” Few, if any, comment on how it is done.

For me it is obvious that media is the major information flow between the actors. You simply don’t discuss the latest dissertations or official reports. You discuss what is written in the papers or shown on TV.

It is also obvious that there is a business opportunity in this area. Journalism dedicated to covering innovations is relevant for modern industrial economies, where innovation is key. Yet there has not existed any recognized discipline or community of Innovation Journalism. “Innovation Journalism” has been an unknown expression.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Discussion the nature of blogs

As a journalist it’s easy to dismiss blogs by citing a single poorly written online diary/reloader as proof. But when you tap the collective power of thousands of blogs, you start to see all sort of interesting behaviour emerge. One example of this is “Google Bombing”, in which weblogs can work together to have a quick and dramatic impact on search engine results. (

Blogs are an adaptive open system, a collective, more than the sum of its parts. It works very much like the principles of open source. The central idea is discussion and quotes. Dan Gillmor at the San Jose Mercury News has been speculating on the relationship between weblogs and journalism. (

Four of his key principles are:

1. My readers know more than I do.

2. That is not a threat, but rather an opportunity.

3. We can use this together to create something between a seminar and a conversation, educating all of us.

4. Interactivity and communications technology—in the form of e-mail, blogs, discussion boards, websites and more—make it happen.

Like in the beginning of desktop publishing, everyone gets enthusiastic about the ease of use and try the technology. I find blogs to be more a discussion community, than a publishing tool.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Blogs are not journalism

Blogs can be great tools for reporters, but are not journalism.

Blogs puts publishing in the hands of the people, very much like desktop publishing did back in the 80s. It is a rapid publishing development tool.

Those who blog can write exactly what they want (almost). They aren’t censored, which is a good thing. But they are neither edited, which is a bad thing.

Anyone can also comment on what’s written. Therefore blogs are great tools for public discussions and have fast became a very important actor for democracy.

Blogs are personal – they cannot be corporate. It’s the nature of blogs. Therefore bloggers aren’t accountable to an editor, or a big company, or some important politician. And that is just the point.

Vivid discussions form communities. And as a community, it demands involvement and commitment. Then do you write to be a part of a community, or do you write just to write? Depending on what, it influences your writing. What if the community causes you to alters your writing not to say anything or write in a special way to get attention?

If blogs are considered journalism, it must be something like ‘participatory journalism’ or ‘peer-to-peer journalism’. But I don’t think there is such a thing as ‘participatory journalism’. Journalism is much more than public access for your products that anyone can comment on.

Traditional media contains much more like brand credibility, criticism of the sources, entertainment, research and synthesizing complex stories. Weblogs would for example never have broken Watergate.

No, blogs are not journalism.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

First things first

Journalism dedicated to covering innovation in technology and business is crucial to the modern industrial economy. Innovation news beats around the world with the goal of contributing to positive societal change. Innovation journalism is the name given to the coverage of innovation.