Wednesday, February 28, 2007

John Furrier speaks about new media journalism

John Furrier

"Content is the new search engine"
John Furrier, Founder and CEO of, spoke today at a get together for Stanford Innovation Journalism Fellows at Podtech's Palo Alto offices. Furrier really impressed me, this is one sharp guy! Furrier who has a solid background in computer science said, "there is a huge demand for content, content is the new search engine." Furrier spoke about RSS, the engine that enables podcasting, comparing it to TCP/IP and HTTP in it's impact on business. He said, "TCP/IP gave people using computers access to the world, HTTP gave them access to information and RSS gave them access to relationships." Furrier mentioned Robert Scoble and talked about how Scoble reads a thousand blogs a day with RSS and Google Reader. Scoble is a graduate of the SJSU Journalism program, an A-List blogger and a PodTech Podcaster. Robert Scoble was out of town. His wife Maryam was there. She is also a blogger and she also works at PodTech.

This was an event focusing on New Media and Journalism and Furrier talked about what he sees as the future of Journalism. He described a new media model where reporter's roles are more and more becoming about igniting and curating conversations. He said reporters of the future will work in more of a software development model, focusing on parts of the big stories and working as a team with others to develop coverage and conversations in a way that collaborates both with their audiences and each other. He described this world as being like the open source software development model.

Furrier also sees a rich future for virtual worlds like Second Life and a growing role for journalists to both cover and work in that space. He also spoke about politics and said one of the great uncovered stories is what he called the blogosphere primary where politicians are courting the blogosphere. He talked about Hillary Clinton's recent visit to Google and about how Clinton is courting the Google Vote. He said the press is not talking about that much, but they sure are talking about it at Google.

Furrier said there are technologies journalists need to learn and he specifically mentioned Java Script and XML, but he also said the story they're telling has to be good. He said, "you need to optimize your behavior because if you don't tell a good story you will be booed."

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