By Jean Latz Griffin
The New York Times launched “Times Wire,” yesterday, and I learned about it when executive editor Bill Keller tweeted about it on Twitter. Bigger bloggers saw it coming, but even newbie bloggers like me – and all the other 1,293 people following Keller (NYTKeller) on Twitter – got the info straight from the horse’s mouth, or the primary source, as academics and journalists would say.
And any of us could have sent him a DM (direct message) saying, “Hey, Bill. Great job on your new API” (application programming interface), and retweeted it to our followers, perhaps saying, “Just heard this from Bill at the NYT.”
Just when you think you are over the shock and awe of Web 2.0, and a glimmer of understanding of Web 3.0 is creeping up on you, something like this happens to make you start rethinking just where the mass communications industry is headed.
Times Wire is a running feed of every article being posted/published by the New York Times on any of its many ways of sending the news. In the tweet, Keller called it “a cool new way to ingest NYT news.” This was Keller’s seventh tweet since joining a few weeks ago. He is one of a handful of newspaper editors at his level on Twitter, but it is likely that number will grow.
Times Wire is a “newest first” stream of links to news, feature articles, blog posts and photos. Mouse over each photo and it enlarges and a caption appears. As I’m typing this word, there have been six updates in the past 20 minutes and the top stories tell us that actor Christopher Guest has enjoyed a cupcake and that a public outcry is growing against Senators who voted Wednesday against a cap on credit card interest rates. Next comes a recipe for herbed leg of lamb, an article on how physicist Sean Gourley has derived a formula to predict insurgent attacks and announcement that Chrysler will close 789 dealerships.
One of the fascinating aspects of this way of looking at the news is that none of this is grouped by category. Those stories are flowing in from the Arts, U.S. news, Style, Opinion and Business sections. One links to a Freakonomics blog, another to The Caucus: The Politics and Government Blog of the Times, a third, regarding Chrysler, links to DealBook, a business column of the Times. The DealBook site has links to Chrysler’s Filing on the dealer closings, director of dealer operations Peter Grady‘s declaration on the closings, an article from the AP on the topic and a searchable list of the dealerships to be closed.
Since I finished typing that graf, four more items have come in over Times Wire – a Travel piece on Barcelona, a Business story on criticism of Credit Suisse in Montana, a Sports story on Preakness picks and the City Room blog, this day writing about “When Twitter Goes Awry (and Atwitter).
So much for reading about it the paper tomorrow morning.
Yet, I earnestly believe and fervently hope that reading a newspaper in the morning over coffee (or herbal tea!) can still have a place in our over-scheduled, never-fast-enough lives. The huge discussion now seems to be what that place will be. If we are lucky, this won’t have to be an either-or situation. We have both cereal and steak in our lives, both jazz and county. To be healthy and whole, we need both.
Perhaps both and old gray lady and her hot pink niece could not only coexist but provide a synergism for growth that benefits them both – and our evolving society.