A Jeff Jarvis book inspired this blog into cyber-being, and since then I’ve read his blogs and books ardently. His most recent book, Geeks Bearing Gifts, advocates a complete re-think of journalism and publishing for the cloud-based, connected world. It’s a great read.
Here’s a snippet that clarifies what I’m after in my desire for an alternative to The Presbyterian Layman for Presbyterians seeking information and analysis about our denomination (hint: it’s all about the data):
Data is a critical new opportunity for news organizations. What journalists have to ask — as with the flow of news — is how they add value to data by helping to gather it (with effort, clout, tools, and the ability to convene a community), analyze it (by calling upon or hiring experts who bring context and questions or by writing algorithms), and present it (contributing, most importantly, context and explanation). . . .
Lots of readers heard my earlier post as a plea for a progressive counterweight to The Layman’s right wing commentary, but commentary is not the problem I want to solve. Data is. The Presbyterian Outlook and the Presbyterian News Service are both reputable and reliable sources of data and analysis on a church-wide, institutional scale, but lack the distribution of resources needed to gather, analyze, and present data distributed across presbyteries.
I want there to be an instrument for
- gathering data about what’s happening across the PC(USA), in presbyteries, synods, new worshiping communities, seminaries, and (fill in the blank),
- analyzing that data (how is what’s happening with dismissals in San Gabriel Presbytery different from what’s happening in Heartland Presbytery? What data binds together churches leaving the denomination?),
- and rigorously presenting that data in a digital format with an obsessive respect for facts and sources.
And I want to call it “The Main Line: News And Analysis for Presbyterians.”
Would you read that?