Deep Thought Strikes Again

    by Dan Schultz
    October 16, 2007

    Last year I sat down to brainstorm with my friend Ian Anderson in hopes that we could chip away at the question: “What is the Perfect News System?” An hour and a half later we had a nice list of what we felt such a system would have along with a few vague ideas about how to implement it all. Over the next few months that list and those ideas were fleshed out into a winning News Challenge proposal.

    Was the resulting system design actually perfect? Nope! If it was I would probably be programming right now, but I tell that very short story for two reasons. The first one is that it sets the stage for the ongoing discussion I’ll try to lead over the next year, which will be dedicated to picking apart all of the ideas that Ian and I came up with while relying on you to help add a little bit more to the mix. The second reason is to illustrate the fact that it only takes an hour to think up something that has potential to be big in an industry with so much room for innovation. You just need to go about it in the right way.

    This is a situation where one needs to know what they’re looking for before they can find the answer (In other words, you should define requirements before looking at solutions). For Douglas Adams fans and those of you who have been a part of a software project this probably sounds very familiar. I bring it up now simply because an idea of your goals and where you want to go will really help you find a way to get there and it seems to me that everyone’s looking to move.


    As I said earlier, the rest of this blog will be devoted to taking a look at the objectives, potential solutions, and issues of my idea, but I would like the end result to be one example of a collectively defined concept of a “Perfect News System.” Before I give details though, I’m curious to know what you think the perfect system would do. What does this industry need?

    (If you don’t get the title)

    Tagged: brainstorming system design
    • The Perfect News System (TM) would apply the principle of follow the money to both its reporting and in planning its own editorial structure. Where does control ultimately lie?

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