Follow-up journalism? Timeless journalism? It is the tyranny of chronology that gets in the way...
All of this made me re-read my presentation from last year's News Innovation Unconference in London - "The tyranny of chronology"
In it, I argued that our concept of reporting news in strict chronological order hadn't changed significantly since the days of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle - and perhaps from even before then if you follow this timeline of timelines.
What concerned me was that despite the acres and acres of coverage on a topic like climate change churned out by the news industry around the globe over the last few years, schoolchildren inevitably head to Wikipedia to get a quick summary for their homework. Somehow we don't manage to synthesize our news content into those bitesize chunks, instead relying on the reader to supply their own background knowledge and context to a constant stream of quick wrap-ups of the previous 24 hours.
Or increasingly, with the live blogging and tweeting of news on the web, the previous 2.4 minutes.
In the talk I suggested that we needed better metadata - both editorially added and automatically derived - in order to provide the right news atoms for the 21st century, and needed to champion the use of journalism centred design for our publishing systems and workflows.
You can download the essay version of "The tyranny of chronology" as a single PDF, read it in 5 parts online starting here, or watch some video of me presenting it from YouTube: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3.
Photograph of Martin Belam at 'News Innovation' July 2009 by Adam Tinworth