Martin Belam interviewed by Artur Kurasiński

Martin Belam by Martin Belam, 23 March 2011

In just over a fornight’s time I’ll be opening the Polish IA Summit, with a keynote presentation entitled “Come as you are”. It is a reference to the Nirvana track, as an anecdote about the band from my days working in a record shop is one of the elements setting up the talk. It is also a look back at the key things I’ve learned through 13 years of working with websites and digital products, and watching and being part of the disciplines of information architecture and user experience design evolving into the established job roles that they are today.

As part of the build-up I’ve been interviewed by Artur Kurasiński. A typical exchange is:

Artur: It has been suggested that 68% of journalism in the future will consist of people sitting around discussing the future of journalism - do you agree? ;-)

Martin: “Well, we do seem to have a tendency to be a bit introspective in the industry at the moment, but then I think we are going through a period of intense transition. That is exciting and full of opportunity as new devices like tablets and Internet-enabled TVs come on the market, but it is also a challenge. I consider myself lucky that in my job I essentially get paid to spend a lot of time thinking about how we do things and what we should be doing digitally, both in the back-end tools we provide journalists, and what we present to users. I think that a lot of journalists are stuck in the daily grind of producing stories to tight deadlines, probably with less people in their newsroom than there was two years ago, and with no noticeable drop in the level of output expected from a news organisation. I don't think they have time to dreamily think about the future landscape of news, in the same way that I don't ever have time to contemplate the future of diagramming software.”

Other questions include the viability of print, how I feel about Apple’s closed iTunes ecosystem, and how newspapers can turn “readers” into “customers”. You can read the full interview on Artur Kurasiński’s blog.

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