16:09 PM

Innovation Journalism At Stanford - And Japan's Interest in Silicon Valley As Media Valley

davidnordfors.jpgI'm spending much of Wednesday and Thursday at Stanford University at the Innovation Journalism conference organized by David Nordfors, who leads the Innovation Journalism program at Stanford. I'm speaking on a panel on Thursday afternoon.

It's a good event because it pulls together top Silicon Valley journalists and also journalists from around the world--with a heavy bent towards Scandinavian business journalists because of Mr Nordfors' Swedish roots.

I don't see that there is much difference between innovation journalism and journalism. Both require the same skills to do well and the subject matter shouldn't matter. However, I do agree with the tag line for this year's conference: "Journalism driving innovation - innovation driving journalism."

That's exactly what I've been seeing and saying the past few years. The media industry is where there is an enormous amount of innovation occurring - and where you find a lot of innovation that's also where you see massive disruption.

Running around the valley . . .

For 20 some years I covered Silicon Valley's innovations, running around interviewing people, looking over their shoulders and saying "that chip/software/hardware looks interesting, tell me about what you're doing."

Since I left the Financial Times nearly 4 years ago, I've had other journalists interviewing me, looking at what I and my colleagues in "new" media have been doing, and saying "That looks interesting tell me about what you're doing." It doesn't get any better than this...

It's a Media Valley . . .

Silicon Valley is transforming into a Media Valley. When I would say that a few years ago few people understood it. Now more people understand it especially when I say it this way: Silicon Valley's largest and fastest growing companies are media companies - Google, Ebay, Facebook, Yahoo, for example, are media companies: they publish pages of content with advertising around it. They are not tech companies they are technology-enabled media companies, there is no tech you can buy from them." The same is true for many of the Web 2.0 companies and their Google AdSense based business models, they are technology-enabled media companies.

My Japanese readers have been particularly intrigued with this concept of Silicon Valley as Media Valley. Last year I was featured in Nikkei business magazine on this topic--this is Japan's largest business magazine. Tokyo Week newspaper sent its New York editor to interview me about another local media sensation: LonelyGirl 15.

And earlier this year a TV crew from Japan's most prestigious and largest TV channel, the equivalent of PBS, came over to my living room to kick off a week-long investigative piece on Silicon Valley and its transformation into Media Valley.

There is a quick video at the end of this post which I took as they walked in and we chatted about what we would talk about. I'm always flattered by such attention but it always feels like a hall of mirrors ...media talking about media. But then again, media loves talking about media.

That's what we'll be doing the next couple of days at Stanford, media talking about media. Join us if you can.


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[BTW I'm heading over to Japan next week for almost a week as a guest of Lunarr - visits with Japanese startups and also Japanese government innovation officials, and much more... details to follow. I can't wait, it'll be my first visit!]