Slow News: designing reflection and contemplation into the news-cycle

Dan Gillmor sez, "Slow food was a great idea. Maybe we need 'slow news' in an era of accelerating -- and wrong -- information."

Like many other people who've been burned by believing too quickly, I've learned to put almost all of what journalists call "breaking news" into the categories of gossip or, in the words of a scientist friend, "interesting if true." That is, even though I gobble up "the latest" from a variety of sources, the closer the information is in time to the actual event, the more I assume it's unreliable if not false.

It's my own version of "slow news" -- an expression I first heard on Friday, coined by my friend Ethan Zuckerman in a wonderful riff off the slow-food movement. We were at a Berkman Center for Internet & Society retreat in suburban Boston, in a group discussion of ways to improve the quality of what we know when we have so many sources from which to choose at every minute of the day...

But this isn't about saving the old guard. It's mostly about persuading audiences to, among other things, "take a deep breath" before leaping to conclusions, as PaidContent's Staci Kramer tweeted. (I don't trust journalists to do this anymore, with too few exceptions.)

In a practical sense, we can help it along if we find ways to preserve a happy by-product of the manufacturing process. Or, as Clay puts it in an email, "the idea -- that we have to get back, by design, the kinds of things we used to get as side-effects of the environment -- is so important right now, and especially for news."

Toward a Slow-News Movement

(Thanks, Dan!)