What Journalists Can Learn from Apple’s Map Mishap

I was at a digital journalism conference when Apple released iOS6 and set off a firestorm of criticism over their custom built mapping application, so perhaps it was inevitable that I would connect these things. In fact, I have written before about how journalists can be the “information cartographers” of the digital age, mapping the ecosystem of news and helping us find our way. However, as I have been reading up on how Apple built its maps I think there are some important lessons for journalists who are thinking about data and community in important new ways.Continue reading “What Journalists Can Learn from Apple’s Map Mishap”

Journalists as Cartographers

Ground Truthing: The use of a ground survey to confirm findings of aerial image or to calibrate quantitative aerial observations; validation and verification techniques used on the ground to support maps; walking the ground to see for oneself if what has been told is true; near-surface discoveries. ~From Terry Tempest Williams, Orion Magazine, MayJue 2003

The convergence of print, video, and audio online is just one function of a larger shift in the technology of our daily lives from analog to digital. Just glancing around my house there are a range of ways that digital technology has replaced analog: my watch, my stereo, my thermostat, my phone, my camera, etc… These changes are more than the simple march of progress. They represent a fundamental shift in our epistemology. Yochi Benkler has written that “Information, knowledge, and culture are central to human freedom and human development. How they are produced and exchanged in our society critically affects the way we see the state of the world as it is and might be; who decides these questions; and how we, as societies and polities, come to understand what can and ought to be done.” Changes in technology necessitate changes in how we respond to the world around us.

Whether you blame or celebrate the role of the Internet in journalism, it is impossible to deny how the web has changed – and is changing – the role of the journalist. News and information – and they way we consume it – has undergone a radical shift in just the last twenty years. We went from watching the evening newscast, to 24 hour cable news, to always-on internet news, to always-on and always-accessible mobile news on cell phones. With these shifts have come changes in pace and delivery, as well as the content and character of the news.Continue reading “Journalists as Cartographers”