Welcome letter from Jim Bettinger, Stanford host for #Editors3D
This letter from Jim Bettinger, director of the John S. Knight (JSK) Journalism Fellowships at Stanford, welcomes the ASNE-APME conference attendees who will gather Oct. 16-18 at Stanford University and explains what's special about the Silicon Valley area.
ASNE and APME will be convening at Stanford in a few weeks, and this time, it is all about location, location, location.
As the director of the John S. Knight (JSK) Journalism Fellowships at Stanford, let me tell you why that's important.
Silicon Valley is a different kind of place, a place where, as the journalist Steven Levy has written, there is "a passion for yes." There is a sense of optimism and confidence, "Hey, we can do this!," that pervades everything. That's not to say it has no problems; a widening chasm between haves and have-nots is one of them.
Other areas have tried to mimic Silicon Valley, and there are always folks predicting doom for the area. Mostly, I'm not buying it because the factors that made the Valley what it is are still in force: technological, cultural and financial advantages that cannot be replicated easily (There is a great piece on the subject by valley historian Leslie Berlin.).
The university has long had ties to Silicon Valley, which date back to 1938 when University Provost Frederick Terman lent $538 to an electronics startup run by William Hewlett and David Packard. Yahoo! and Google are only two of the best known Silicon Valley companies that got their start at Stanford.
And the JSK program, now in its 50th year, has always worked to capitalize on its Stanford home and its Silicon Valley location. We focus on journalism innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership, and our fellows come to Stanford with a "journalism challenge" that they want to work on during the year: a problem they want to solve, a question they want to answer and an opportunity they want to explore. In the past couple of years, we've especially encouraged applications from journalists who want to work on a challenge that is specifically a priority of newsrooms like yours. A few of our fellows will be sprinkled throughout the convention program, and you will be able to get a better idea of the kinds of work a JSK Fellow can do. Or you can watch this video. Note the next application deadline, Dec. 1.
The conference program and related activities will embrace the kinds of thinking that characterizes Silicon Valley. David Kelley, founder of Stanford's influential d.school, will be a keynoter, as will S. Mitra Kalita, managing editor for editorial strategy at the Los Angeles Times. Sessions are planned on news partnerships in the era of social media, drone journalism and disruptive ways to engage untapped audiences, to mention only a few. It will be worth your while, we promise.
I leave you with two mantras that symbolize the ethos out here:
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." Computer scientist Alan Kay.
"We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as
insoluble problems." John Gardner, founder of Common Cause.
See you at Stanford.