Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Kirk Citron: And now, the real news

By Stephen M.

Kirk Citron's talk is to let us learn about his goal of categorizing "important" news. The talk could be considered fairly controversial but in the three minutes that he talks he gets his point across excellently. The biggest stories of 2009 will not matter in 50 years. He gives examples of news that won't matter and news that will, as well as information about his organization, The Longnews.

Citron opens the talk with a personal observation: we are drowning in news. This statement seems to go against our belief that the more information that we receive, the better. He outlines that news that matters now will be completely redundant in 10, 50 or 100 years. Examples that he gives are of things like Micheal Jackson's death, Swine Flu and the current (or recent) recession. He thinks that these topics will be all but forgotten in time despite the attention that they are receiving now. Citron then proceeds to give examples of things that will survive the test of time. Three examples that he gives us are of nanobots, world hunger, and China's rising position in world politics. The final example he gives us is of water found on the moon. He believes that this is important "Water found on the moon. Makes it a lot easier to put a colony up there." The talk concludes with a statement he makes that "In the long run, some news stories are more important than others." The slide show presentation ends with a website;

From the very beginning of the presentation Kirk seizes the viewers attention by making the bold statement that we are overwhelmed in news. His public speaking skills are obvious from the moment he starts and it is apparent that he cares about this subject by his tone and emphasis despite his use of a teleprompter. The Long News is an organization that he is part of that searches for stories that will matter in a great number of years. Kirk gives his examples of redundant news and proceeds to the stories that will matter. Though the talk was well presented, it was controversial and some comments on the video go as far as to call Citron "xenophobic" or as disliking those different from oneself due to his comments on China's ascension in the 21st century. Other comments regard his apparent affection for scientific news. I feel that these comments lack the proof that they need to make them credible and think his talk (though not as balanced as it could have been) simply outlined current issues that will actually make a difference in the way we live. By speaking to the audience about known stories, Citron connects with his audience. I would personally give this talk a 7.8 out of 10 because it was a well organized and presented talk but would have been improved by having more insight on certain topics.

I think that this was a fairly well presented talk but could use some more depth and clarification on certain subjects such as the abundance of scientifically related news examples. He wants us to realize that only things that will affect us in the long term are important enough to be greatly popularized by the media. I don't completely agree with all of his examples, but the argument is logical and well developed. The presentation seems to be well orchestrated and in the 3:22 that he has he explains it well. I would recommend this talk to anyone who is interested in journalism, world issues and news media. The talk helps the audience look at news from a different point of view and does so aptly. If you are interested in his organization the web site is

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