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Under Construction

Editors, Algorithms, and the New Media

I had a very enjoyable and informative breakfast with a good friend the other day. He’s the editor of a large suburban newspaper in the Chicago area, and they are taking a pretty bold step in the digital subscription front (don’t call them paywalls, he asks.)

That day he wrote in his columnTalk with the Editor, about how a train crash was covered differently by the local newspapers. In the column, I think he hits the nail right on the head when he says:

Meanwhile, with the increased fragmentation of the audience for news and information, newspapers more and more are understanding an age-old truth: To be valuable, we have to be different. And we have to have our own personality.

It speaks volumes to the fact that newspapers have to find their niche again in the publishing scheme with readers of today, and especially tomorrow.

The next day, Matt Silverman of, wrote on a similar subject in his story, How Algorithms and Editors Can Work Together to Burst the “Filter Bubble” citing my of my favorite TED videos of all time, Eli Pariser’s TED talk about “filter bubbles.”

It’s a column that is worth a read for all journalists and news consumers. He writes about “7 Things That Personalization Algorithms Do Poorly” and some ideas on how to fix that.

Where newspapers will be in the next few years is still up to the people behind the scenes of those newspapers, but one thing is for sure, they’ll need to find their own voice along the way.