The Top 6 TED Talks On The Topic Of Journalism

October 30, 2014

It’s an exciting time for not just broadcast journalism but for the very concept of journalism itself as technological advancements, arguably like never before, push the industry into new frontiers.

In particular, the field has really opened up to amateur broadcasters who are, in a significant number of cases, amassing a considerable audience despite budgetary and production constraints.

Broadcast journalism school remains the best method of taking a career in the field to the next level, but there are plenty of useful resources to boost learning in the mean time. One such resource is TED, the famously excellent host of keynote speeches in a variety of genres…

… here are the ones which will be of most interest to broadcast journalists.

Best TED Talks on Journalism

Markham Nolan: How to Tell the Difference Between Fact and Fiction

Who: Former freelance journalist, later managing editor of Storyful and Vocativ.

What: Nolan’s posing of what seems like a simple question serves as a springboard to address what has become a rather tricky prospect in broadcast journalism.

Why: Accuracy and information verification is central to most journalism duties. For those baffled as to how best to sift through the modern deluge, Nolan’s talk is for you.

Paul Lewis: Crowdsourcing the News

Who: British award-winning investigative journalist.

What: A TEDx talk on the implications of modern citizen journalism, in which everyday people have the ability to produce and generate their own news and what this means for the conventional journalist.

Why: Paul Lewis’ much lauded work includes exposing the unlawful death of a protester, Ian Tomlinson, at the hands of security guards in London. It was an incredible piece of investigative journalism and a victory for civil liberty. For this alone it’s always worth hearing Lewis’ insight on the topic.

Simon Rogers: Data Journalists are the New Punks

Who: San Francisco-based data journalist for the Guardian.

What: Exactly what is data journalism? Simon Rogers explains how numbers can fill in the blanks around stories, and more often than not, can give rise to very different angles entirely to familiar stories.

Why: Beautifully illustrated, Rogers’ ranks among the most practical TED talks on journalism given that he successfully sums up how everyone can strengthen the bond between words and numbers to become better journalists…even those who are terrified of math.

Ted Rosenteil: The Future of Journalism

Who: Author, journalist, media critic, and executive director of the American Press Institute.

What: “New technology has fundamentally dissolved the old system for financing news,” declares Rosenteil, who goes on to paint a picture of the current journalism landscape and where new frontiers are likely to take us.

Why: So far we’ve looked at TED talks on journalism which address how modern media has changed the industry; Rosenteil takes in one step further and asks if it’s better or worse (and why).

Andres Jaspan: A New Way to do Journalism

Who: Former mainstream newspaper editor and founder of The Conversation, a not-for-profit news service.

What: In a world in which modern journalism is frequently charged with having lost its moral compass, Jaspan discusses how the industry and those working in it can change their fundamental approaches to make changes for the better.

Why: Any TED talk on journalism starting off with “Hello, my name is Andrew and I’m a recovering journalist” has got to be worth 20 minutes of your time.

Michael Anti: Behind the Great Firewall of China

Who: Jing Zhao (pen name Michael Anti), Chinese political blogger and journalist.

What: The Chinese government is notoriously well known for its direct control and censorship of the country’s internet access, which has given rise to both bizarre quirks and serious questions about civil liberty.

Why: While we think of the Internet as a unified, cohesive platform, by its very nature we rarely get to see behind the curtain of the censored version which operates in China. This is a rare opportunity to see it from the other side, with highlights including how much content you can pack into 140 characters when using Chinese.