Here at The Nation we’ve been engaged in an ongoing conversation about how journalism is changing, and how we need to change along with it. There’s no doubt that print journalism must embrace new platforms and new technologies if we expect to both survive and make an impact. The real question is how. How can The Nation embrace the changes roiling our industry and still stay true to the values which have kept us strong for 145 years?
What we’ve decided to do is go for it. You’re reading this column on the newest iteration of TheNation.com, just launched today — maybe you’re even reading it on your smartphone. It is now far more likely you found us on Twitter than in a bookstore, and you might be following my blog from anywhere in the world. We’re not afraid of new platforms, and we’re going to embrace the many opportunities they present.
What we’re trying to do on those platforms, however, is something a little different — and something I hope can chart a course forward for independent journalism in the digital age. We’re trying to adapt these new media tools to amplify our unique form of journalism: investigative reporting that speaks truth to power; informed opinion journalism; critical analysis of politics and news; and lively, intelligent coverage of books, culture and the arts. In short: whether its a 140-character tweet, a blog post on your iPhone or the cover story in the latest print edition, we’re committed to first-class, fact-checked, well-edited independent journalism. As the logo at the top of the page notes, we’ve been providing "unconventional wisdom" since 1865, and we’re not stopping now.
Our re-tooled website, TheNation.com, has new navigation and design, vastly more multimedia, a major activist component, a robust community section and two new bloggers – Jeremy Scahill and Greg Mitchell. The website is also now more in synch with our politics: we’ve switched to the open-source platform "Drupal." (Read "The Nation Goes Open Source".) What this new platform means practically is that we’re able to respond faster to breaking news, and that we have the technical power and capacity to "package" and present our major investigations in a more compelling way.
Our new iPad (iPhone-friendly) app was released last week. It’s the first of several apps from The Nation, and it’s already in the top 300 best-selling paid apps internationally. The app has been sold in over 20 countries, and offers a great opportunity for us to convey our values and principles to a broader audience worldwide.
Our twitter feed, @thenation, already won the "Shorty Award" for best political tweeting, and we’re just moments away from hitting 40,000 followers. We’re proud that our feed is a place where you can follow the broader progressive community and our independent media allies as well as The Nation, and where we can weigh in on breaking news, as it happens. The website redesign also incorporates Twitter feeds — which allow you to read an article here at TheNation.com and watch the subsequent conversation unfold on Twitter without leaving the page!