One thought on “Jay Rosen’s Urgency Index

  1. I love the urgency index idea. Here are some quick notes/comments/questions off the top of my head:

    • If GOP became an authoritarian party would this make it on the urgency index? (consequence+likelihood+imminence = urgency ranking)
    • Rosen mentions that the press doesn’t have emergency mode of reporting they can switch to. This idea resonated with me, but I have a specific type of emergency in mind—namely, a situation where a politician or political party no longer behaves within normal (and reasonable) assumptions that journalists would make about liberal-democratic parties in the U.S. For example, they assume a party would not nominate someone who is grossly unfit for office—i.e., someone who is mentally and emotionally unstable, or ignorant, corrupt. Journalists are correct in assuming that the POTUS understands and respects the U.S. Constitution–that they care about governing and solving problems, not just keeping power and/or enriching themselves. In other words, the press doesn’t have an authoritarian mode of coverage they can switch to. I also don’t think they have a way of switching to this mode in a way that will not erode the public trust, and protect against accusations of bias and unfairness. I like the Urgency Index idea. I’m suggesting to have process that allows the press to switch into an authoritarian mode of coverage.
    • This idea that the news is designed for “daily content production” not to maximize “public understanding” of the most important issues. The former may have made sense prior to the internet, and maybe even cable TV, as morning, evening, and late night become points where people can get updates about the news. My guess is that these points were a practical matter, related to when newspapers and TV news could deliver news. But with the internet and wireless technology, we don’t really need these check-in points, and I think that means we don’t really need content production every day…Then again, maybe most people, especially the non-news junkies, are accustomed to checking in to the news at these points (morning, evening, late night)….Perhaps, news outlets can still produce TV news shows, but if there isn’t enough new content, they can go more in depth on important issues. The larger point is that journalists do not have to use older processes for producing the news.

    On an unrelated note, the last point makes me think of the way top 10 lists of a given year or decade are also obsolete–or so it feels to me. Like Rosen’s urgency list, I would prefer to some prioritization. For example, the first priority should go to things are equivalent to all-time great works. The next priority might be very good works that lie outside the all-time great category. Perhaps, the top priority might go to works that deal with something important in our time, but may not necessarily be an all-time great work….I suspect not many would agree with this approach, though.

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