Friday, October 13, 2006

Innovation Journalism In Focus

Antoni Subirà, former Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Catalonia, is discussing innovation journalism with Stanford researcher and Innovation Journalism program director David Nordfors.

The importance of media as a facilitator for information flow within a innovation system was discussed at the ninth annual conference Clusters2006.

“Today it is impossible to discuss the future – even only a few years ahead - without looking at innovation. One recent example is the Internet revolution, forcing the remake of nearly every area of society. Or downloadable music, forcing reform of the music industry and copyright laws. Or how mobile communication and the Internet is unleashing innovation in developing economies,” said Stanford researcher and innovation journalism program director David Nordfors.

“Traditional newsbeats like business, technology, science and political journalism look only at certain aspects of innovation processes. Innovation is treated as a topic within each beat, and the bigger picture is chopped up to fit into a specific news slot, usually technology or business journalism,” he argued.

Innovation journalism instead covers the introduction of new concepts in society. The process of innovation itself is the central concept, treating business, technology, politics etc. as nested components of a news story.

“This is important since innovation nowadays determines economic growth and societal change,” David Nordfors said.

In the plenary session the concept of innovation journalism was discussed. The panel consisted of Marta Svetina Director General of the Slovenian Technology Agency - TIA, Arthur Bayhan CEO of the Pakistan Competitiveness Support Fund (CSF), Per Erikson General Director VINNOVA, Seppo Sisättö secretary of the Finnish Information Journalism Research Programme, Jan Sandred Special Advisor VINNOVA and Wilfried Rütten Director of the European Journalism Centre in Maastricht. The panel was chaired by Antoni Subirà former Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Catalonia.

The panel suggested that independent innovation journalism strengthens competitiveness, by focusing public attention in innovation economies on issues of public interest and developing a common language for discussing innovation, similar to the role of political journalism in democracies. Supporting development of independent innovation journalism can be a part of competitiveness/cluster initiatives, just like supporting independent political journalism has been a part of developing democracy.

The Swedish governmental agency VINNOVA started the first program in 2003 and supported Stanford for developing the concept. The Innovation Journalism Program is currently run by Stanford (US) and VINNOVA (Sweden), with partner programs in Finland, Slovenia, Basque Country in Spain, Pakistan and Germany.

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  • At 12:43 AM, Blogger Terry Lawhead said…

    This was a fascinating session for me, now an economic development professional working in the state of Washington USA butprior to that I was a print journalist for 15 years. I believe this hook of innovative journalism is here at the right time for writers and "attentive people" who seek to write about accelerating changes, particularly where such changes impact our jobs and work places. But also including our community lifes, raising children and trying to sustain vital civic lives. Much of my state is strugglign with how to match up to global trends and we have outstanding journalissts already articulating the challenges and rewards. An enhanced focus on what innovative journalism can represent will only help that effort.


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