A view of the future?
Morris Communications doesn't get a lot of publicity, tucked away as it is in Augusta, Ga., (you know, that place with the famous golf tournament) but it has one of the smartest minds in journalism, Steve Yelvington, working for it today. If you want an idea of where Yelvington & Co. see news site design going, look at the new Savannah Morning News site.
Compare it to the old Savannah site, (link no longer active) which is typical of many newspaper sites.
Minimalism seems to be in (see also the product of another low-key but influential player, Howard Owens at Bakersfield.com, which relies heavily on headlines and photos, but isn't quite as stark as Savannah).
The future J-School?
Adrian Holovaty's comments to Robert Niles of Online Journalism Review in "The programmer as journalist." The quick version:
This, however, is much easier said than done in your modern institution of higher learning, and it raises questions of where to fit this into a curriculum that, under accreditation standards, has only so much flexibility. The conversation was a little thin on this point, and there needs to be much more discussion. Journalism schools seem to be caught between the technologists like Holovaty on one hand and the traditional liberal arts folks on the other. Sure, they are not mutually exclusive and could be accommodated -- if students were only allowed to take 250 credit hours toward a degree.
OJR: What should journalism schools be doing to prepare future journalists to work in a mash-up publishing universe?
Holovaty: J-schools need to get way more technical. A graduate of a journalism school should be a master of collecting data -- whether the old-fashioned way (by talking to humans) or through automated means.
The closest thing journalism schools currently have (to my knowledge) is computer-assisted reporting classes. Those classes should be required, in my opinion, and even better would be for j-schools to partner with computer-science departments so that journalism students would get some experience coding.