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Jan 21, 2003: A Journalistic Take on IA

Nice to see a write up on IA in the Online Journalism Review. Mentions some good folks I'm fortunate to know, like Christina Wodtke, Andrew Hinton, Peter Morville and Jesse James Garrett. Also mentions this thing called AIfIA. More importantly, it's nice to see IA getting some play in the journalism world, as these fields have so much in common.

Which leads to my question: any current or former journalists among Bloug readers who've explored this intersection? Or care to below?

Thanks to Kuro5hin.org's Rusty Foster for writing this article.

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Comment: PeterV (Jan 22, 2003)

Journalists produce content, IA's organize it, I don't see too much of an intersection there, nor in core skillsets. You can be a great IA but an average writer, and many great journalists don't know *# about classifying stuff. But it *is* nice to see IA getting out there. I'm still slightly worried the field will be absorbed into some other field never to be heard from again, its skillset marginalized again. That wouldn't be good.

Comment: ~bc (Jan 22, 2003)

Not a journalist, but took several course on it in college, a couple more credits and I might have had a minor...

Comment: Ex journo (Jan 23, 2003)

I agree that there is not necessarily a cross-over between all journalists and all IAs. However, those journalists who move into subbing and editorial positions do develop useful skillsets that approach IA in a tangential way.
A knowledge of grammar can indicate a familiarity with meta data (grammar being meta data about language). A DTP and commissioning background can indicate a thoughtfulness about guiding a user through a print-bound reading experience. Essentially anyone who is used to thinking before acting (like the carpanters' adage of "measure twice, cut once") has skills which might be useful in the field of IA.

Comment: Lou (Jan 23, 2003)

Seems to me that one major area of overlap is simply in the role of organizing an information space. I.e., a daily newspaper's editor does much of the same sort of things as a site architect, albeit in a context where content is both more dynamic and more self-contained.

Comment: Ex journo (Jan 24, 2003)

I agree 100%, Lou. Remember that good journalists also structure their work carefully: headlines, standfirsts, subheads, captions all given a hierarchy according to the inverted triangle model of writing...sounds suspiciously like an IA approach to me.

Comment: George Olsen (Jan 28, 2003)

As an ex-journalist I can assure that a major part of the skills is organizing your story. Otherwise, you just have a pile of facts.

Likewise, when you move into being an editor, what you get paid the (not so) big bucks is to figure out how to organize the days news -- from the specific page to the entire paper. Good newspapers are all about "packaging" stories with multiple points of entry like Ex journo describes.

Journalists couldn't tell you who Ranganathan was, but that doesn't mean they're lacking in structuring and categorizing skills. And remember they've got a few hours at most to do it. Try organizing an equivalent amount of content for your site in that time.

Comment: mantruc (Jan 29, 2003)

Where I currently work, the IA team is composed of 2 journalists and me (mass communication), and most of the people involved in IA in Chile have come from the world of journalism.

Comment: PeterV (Jan 30, 2003)

I take my words back. Turns out journalism *is* closer to IA than I thought.

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