Survival of the fittest on the second day of ISOJ

Attendees register for the 14th International Symposium on Online Journalism at the Blanton Museum held between Apr. 19 and Apr. 20, 2013. (Erika Rich/Knight Center)

Just past 8:30 a.m. or so, tireless journalists gathered in the Capitol Room at the Blanton Museum to participate in the research breakfast, a new feature that was added to the International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ) for the first time this year. The breakfast gives four researchers the chance to introduce their current projects and the audience the opportunity to combine hot coffee and even hotter journalistic issues.

Jakes Batsell from the Southern Methodist University kicks off the barcamp-style session outlining some of his ideas on engaging the audience. “Engagement equals survival,“ he said. “It can help pay the bills.”

Paying the bills is at the center of the next pitch as well — Manuel Gago from the Universidad Santiago de Compostela in Spain introduced his research on how different models of Spanish media are being implemented to get through the economic crisis. He contrasted print-based media such as El País and El Mundo, which use aggregating strategies to generate revenue. They also use online-only media that offer completely free access and try to exploit new revenue streams like crowd-funding.

Next up was David Craig whose research interest is the “very complex area” of data journalism. If done well, he said, it can help to “discover [a] pattern that we could not see before, taking public understanding to a new level.”

The final presentation was given by Seth Lewis, who discussed the growing integration of computer geeks, whom he calls “hackers” for the lack of a better word, in the news arena. He observed that the worlds of journalism and hackers meet institutionally in big media companies and in grass-root networks. Hackers, he argued, “bring a particular mindset to the newsroom” and might have “different ideas of what transparency means“ than journalists.

Presentations were brief and succinct while questions and input from the audience turned the hour into an interactive session. Just before 9:00 a.m. the first ISOJ event of the day was over, giving everybody the chance to rush to Emily Bell’s keynote address.