Obama’s speech: Watching the new journalism in action

Obama’s State of the Union address
(Word size indicates how often Obama said it)

Today, journalists have to do more than merely chronicle what was said.

The multimedia tools at their disposal allow stories to be told creatively, interactively. In today’s environment, the best news organizations are allowing readers and viewers to discover “stories” in innovative ways.

Take President Obama’s State of the Union address. Instead of a standard story recap, reaction, and analysis, the “story” unfolds in layers today:

  • You can watch the speech unfiltered, without the chatter of network anchors, either at C-SPAN (the nonprofit cooperative of cable companies) or direct from the White House.
  • You can use Wordle.net to see at a glance the keywords of the speech. The Guardian took such an approach to compare Obama’s speech to those of previous presidents.
  • You can search the transcript at the New York Times and see what people were saying in real time, as the speech was unfolding.
  • You can check the BS meter through several fact-checking sites such as Politifact and FactCheck.org to determine whether the president or the Republican respondent was bending the truth more.

It is no longer enough to recount the story. Those organizations that understand how to cultivate the sense of discovery will be the ones to survive.


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