The building block of journalism is no longer the article; so says Jeff Jarvis in a post which argues that the web needs a new paradigm.
The story was all we had before — it’s what would fit onto a newspaper page or into a broadcast show. But a discrete and serial series of articles over days cannot adequately cover the complex stories going on now nor can they properly inform the public. There’s too much repetition. Too little explanation.
… I want a page, a site, a thing that is created, curated, edited, and discussed. It’s a blog that treats a topic as an ongoing and cumulative process of learning, digging, correcting, asking, answering. It’s also a wiki that keeps a snapshot of the latest knowledge and background. It’s an aggregator that provides annotated links to experts, coverage, opinion, perspective, source material. It’s a discussion that doesn’t just blather but that tries to accomplish something (an extension of an article like this one that asks what options there are to bailout a bailout). It’s collaborative and distributed and open but organized.
In response to the huge complexities and fast past of the economic crisis, will we see a new form emerge? I actually think one of our blogs, Flightblogger, is already doing something like this for the 787 programme – he’s mixing the fast (Twitter) with the slow and reflective (old-fashioned feature articles) and pulling it together in one place. What’s probably missing is easy access to “the story so far”.