I just visited my friend Tom Crampton, a reporter for the International Herald Tribute, who just moved to Paris. Today was his first day in the Paris office. He showed me the computer system that gave him access to all of the stories and pictures filed by reporters and photographers all over the world. The computer system also had all kinds of databases including the news wires. The stories had "slugs" which were the shorthand names of the stories named after the actual lead slugs they used to use. Some had notes that said, "DO NOT SPIKE" which comes from the spike that editors used to have on their desk that dumped stories were spiked onto. These slugs were printed up onto "skeds". They let me sit in on the editorial meeting where all of the editors got together and discussed what stories might lead and which stories ended up on the front and second pages. Many of the stories hadn't been written yet. What was interesting was that, at least during the this meeting, there was a lot of non-verbal communication. There was clearly a lot more thinking than talking going on. It was the sound of NPOV.
It is definitely unfair to compare this process to blogging, but there were similarities. I scan my news feeds in the morning. Then I look at what other blogs are posting. Then I think about various things that might come up during the day that I might blog about and decide what if anything I will blog. It's a lot about timing, context and a larger narrative.
Some of the issues about what to lead with and what to balance with remind me a bit of the Prix Ars Electronica jury process (which danah just blogged about) where we chose 1 Golden Nica, 2 Distinctions and 12 Honorary Mentions from 400+ nominations.
I snagged a copy of tomorrow's IHT Japan edition which is just now being printed. I will be able to read tomorrow's paper on my flight back to Japan, which seems pretty cool.
I talked to the editors about blogging and explained that I'm a big fan of the IHT and thought a lot about how bloggers can work together with MSM and what we could do to transform their business model and preserve their craft.