The 2011 template represents the most significant change in the Gawker model since the launch of Gizmodo and Gawker in 2002. One could go further: it represents an evolution of the very blog form that has transformed online media over the last eight years. The internet, television and magazines are merging; and the optimal strategy will assemble the best from each medium.
You can already see 2011 layout on the beta versions of Gawker and other titles. The blog scroll, long the central element of the page, is shifted to the right column, still prominent but subordinate; that reverse-chronological listing of the latest stories goes from about two thirds of the active area of the front door down to one third; and only headlines are displayed.
Over at Reddit this morning, people are discussing whether Wikileaks is a journalistic outlet, and whether Julian Assange, the whistleblowing site’s frontman, is himself a journalist. Here’s my take:
Wikileaks’ release of these documents is most certainly not journalism. And “journalism” isn’t just summarizing information, as some believe.
By releasing these documents, Wikileaks has given the general public access to information to which they don’t usually have access. Thing is, most people — myself included — don’t know how to put this complex cache of information into a proper context. In other words, they don’t understand the “real world” impact of such a leak, or know how to place the information into a larger picture of the world.
It is the job of the journalist to write an article that puts this information into context, and frames it in a way that anyone can grasp the significance of the information to which they are now privy. That’s what good journalism can do; that’s the service it provides the people. Or, at least, that’s the service it’s supposed to provide.
Now, in this age where “truth” has acquired some sort of relativistic nature, and anyone can dismiss anything with simple yelps of “bias!” I’m guessing many would question that reporter’s facts and motives. They — whoever doesn’t like the picture painted by the facts in the reporter’s story — would say that he/she is leaving out key information in order to promote some agenda.
In other words, many people — even journalists — don’t trust journalism anymore, nor do they understand its purpose. And that makes total sense. At a time when journalism’s foundations have lost their balls and their professionalism, and when outlets like Fox News or bloggers like Michelle Malkin are placed under the journalism umbrella, it’s no wonder people are calling bullshit.
The failings of journalism, I believe, are also what have given Mr. Assange and Wikileaks such a heavy backing of support from the general public (or at least a lack of outrage, which is at least as valuable). People are relieved to get the truth, and to be able to look at that truth without it being subjected to the smeared miscoloration of opinion. If we had a journalism industry that actually worked, the actions of Wikileaks would have a far different tone.