David Byrne visits the NYT

This is just plain cool — especially if, like me, you cut your teenage teeth on the Talking Heads in the 1970s: Byrne has a diary blog, and he wrote a big long entry about his VIP tour of the new New York Times editorial offices, including — I am not kidding — a karaoke/air guitar video-game performance of a Weezer song by some NYT staffers (the mind reels, doesn’t it?).

I sense that there is an unspoken philosophy at the Times that guides and informs everything. It’s an old idea (Jefferson, DeToqueville) that a democracy — which I would suggest we barely have now — can only run with at least semi-informed citizens. Without information a citizen can’t make intelligent choices or vote in any kind of rational way.

*swoon* Byrne wrote that. Journalism: Qu’est-ce que c’est?

Haggling over the front page might seem anachronistic; soon readers might be customizing their own front pages or an algorithm might do it for them. I would argue that, as in a lot of fields (like music), a filter is more valuable than sheer information. In fact, a filter is information, in the strict sense. And a front page — whether material or virtual — is a filter that tells us what news the paper has decided we should be aware of at a glance.

*swoon* x 2

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