Ever since we began using computers to handle news -- which is probably a lot longer than you think -- there has been a notion of automating the processes of laying out pages. Long before InDesign, long before Quark, long before Pagemaker there were attempts to apply algorithms to news, to sort and arrange and place items on pages without humans driving every detail of the process.
There was a time when American journalism was the gold standard of the world. We created the world's first journalism school. Newspapers and, later, broadcasters all over the world looked up and tried to emulate our practices. But no longer.
I've traveled the world quite a lot in the last 10-15 years. I've read local newspapers and watched TV news in places where journalism once was illegal -- Moscow, St. Petersburg, Prague, the former East Germany. Around the world I've seen the influence of the American tradition, and it is a powerful force for good.
One wall of my office is covered with notes and diagrams trying to divine the future. Nobody can get it right, so I'm actually not worried about that. What's important is to generate views that are useful and helpful in planning. In that spirit, I thought I should share a few "predictions" and see what you all think. I'm thinking of the period 2015-2018. It's close enough to be real, but far enough to give the imagination some running room.
Engadget's Darren Murph has a tale of how ESPN's newsroom adopts technology:
"The iPad has been out for just over two months, yet somehow ESPN -- a massive corporation that should technically have all sorts of red tape bogging down this type of forward thinking -- has managed to not only get a setup working in its labs, but actually get the new setup working and onto shows that we're enjoying each and every day. "
I thought we were beyond this, but no: it seems that quite a number of people who are old enough to know better are making silly pronouncements to the effect that Tablet Is The New Print.
This calls for a mind-expanding whack on the side of the head, preferably applied with Maslow's hammer. Abraham Maslow was the psychologist famous for his "hierarchy of needs." He also was famous for saying "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." That's called Maslow's hammer, or sometimes "the law of the instrument."