As I go through my prewriting, I’m slightly unnerved that the space I’ve chosen might be slightly too large, although it’s an argument I’m extremely passionate about and have discussed with both journalists and HCI practitioners. I also firmly believe that there’s an opportunity to engage with this argument in the Interaction Culture literature we’ve discussed throughout the semester, as I’ve chosen three exemplars to serve in the critique form of my paper. I’ll do my best to sum up my argument in one sentence:

Journalism needs to employ user experience designers and ally itself as a discipline within HCI in order to make news relevant again.

The following is overarching structure of the argument:

-An introduction to the current state of mainstream journalism and the dependency on the “Print Paradigm”

I don’t assume the reader will fully understand the current struggles witnessed by the journalism community, so I wanted to begin with an introduction to the field and the “Print Paradigm”, or the experience of content as though it were on a newspaper page. This is a paradigm that has largely extended into the digital and mobile environment, leading to experience issues as readers are no longer as responsive to traditional long-form journalism.

-A critique – content vs. experience

From this exposition, I wanted to draw the comparison between content and experience. Journalists (reporters, photojournalists, copy editors) are largely focused on the content of the story. They interview, report, and write, but they don’t necessarily have control over the experience in which their content is embedded. This means journalists don’t have a strong understanding of their audience as users – as people who have an ecosystem of devices in which they access news and media content.

-Enter an argument for UX and HCI

Journalists may not understand experience design, but user experience designers and the HCI community does. With this focus on experience over content, I’m building up my argument to bring the HCI community into journalism and forge the beginning of that partnership. I want to demonstrate the actual benefits the HCI community can bring to journalism, and to do so I’m critiquing news aggregators as a new form of journalistic experience from the lenses we’ve acquired in Interaction Culture. The aggregators I’m proposing to critique are:

Flipboard

Pulse

Google News

By examining these critically, I hope to not only provide a strong examination as to how journalism is failing and succeeding in terms of ecosystem and experience, but how HCI can help with that failure through critique and design. In a sense, it’s proving HCI’s worth to the field of journalism through the critique we can offer.

Finally, I want to give HCI a reason to “jump in bed” with journalism. This partnership is a two-way street, and I firmly believe that journalism is a discipline worthy of HCI epistemology. The ethnographic methods used in journalism, the interview skills, the deductive and inductive process by which a story is fleshed out, all of these have something to offer. I want to make sure HCI realizes that not only can journalism benefit from its design knowledge, but HCI has much to gain by a continued partnership.

My concern is that this argument is far too broad, and that I’ll get lost, but any critique you guys could offer would be most appreciated! Thanks!

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