Digital Newsmedia Group Two

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The Internet and the rise of online media has fundamentally changed the way that we think about it. [TODO: MORE INTRODUCTION]


Traditional Journalism: Some Notes

Rise of "investigative journalism" that epitomizes our conception didn't really happen until late History of "yellow journalism," muckracking See also "computer-assisted" journalism

A Short History of Online Participatory Journalism

Working Definitions? Don't want to focus too much on terminology; seems to have moved the debate into less productive territory (see below). Some blurring; increasing numbers of traditionally trained journalists participating in less traditional fora. But see story from China where identified unpopular people and found identifying information on where they live etc.


Sense of failure by traditional media Local newspapers struggling; ensure local news available ???

Current Focus and Debate

But spectrum from "fact" to "opinion"; both traditional and new participatory media along entire range; "fact" useful for . If less "objective," doesn't necessarily make it without value, or even without traditional analog. Suggests may be more of a labeling issue. Community of self-styled participatory media may develop norms / codes, either on own or import from journalism, in order to alleviate some of the problems (e.g. wikipedia). If concerned about labeling problem, really a "passing off" issue, but people may take articles with grain of salt — passing of not an issue until people are actually confused. Want to shift the focus a little.

Breakdown and a Rough Taxonomy

Perhaps because its proponents most visibly identify as "journalists" and therein raise the hackles of traditional, trained journalists, much of the normative debate has focused on those sites that allow individuals to act completely as "news gatherers": identifying a story that they think is newsworthy, going out into the world and collecting facts, analyzing those facts, and writing and publishing a story.

Idea Newsworthy? Fact Gathering Analysis Write Publish
Traditional Sometimes coming up with an idea and deciding whether newsworth is unnecessary, for example when reactively reporting something big that happened Newspaper / TV
Online Participatory Internet

Participatory journalism can be seen as special case of Crowdsourcing, but more interesting because both sides self-consciously interact with the other. Where does the benefit of the "crowd" come in? Analogy to law / fact; really in the analysis (mixed question of law and fact) that is key to providing something useful.

Examples demonstrating different paradigms for shifting and sharing responsibilities for different parts of the process

  • Commenting on news articles; each participant can then "re-analyze" the facts and make own conclusions

Allows the everyday citizen to submit article "tips"/"ideas" which are then distributed to partnering top-down news organizations. Upon interest from journalists there, the ideas are pitched and funded by citizens on Spot.Us. Represents a way that top-down and bottom-up journalism converge.

  • CNN iReport (but note what kind of
  • ...

See also

A Closer Look at One Box

Why this box? Interesting because definitely one stage where people do not have to consciously self-identify as participants in the journalism process. Just going to the airport and tweeting to complain, but can be valuable "news" for someone deciding when to leave. What are implications of leveraging information when not necessarily provided for that purpose? Some cross-over with Crowdsourcing? Using facts gathered: how do you fact check? Limit by news topic; no real reason for anyone to lie about, e.g. lines at Boston Logan or Comcast cable being down, but be wary of exploitation by, e.g., governments without much freedom of press when aware that look to twitter stream for information. To whose benefit is it to cast doubt on integrity of information? Relationship between journalist and source; shift? Implications of lack of personal connection?

Sense of video / pictures as indisputable "fact," but not necessarily true either; at least for a while, allows exploitation, see ACORN scandal.

Is the solution just for "trusted" news sources not to rely on it? But then how can they compete (see rush to be first).

Taking a Step Back

Any real distinction? Law of the horse where everything is the horse?

Rush to be First

News and Entertainment

No separation of message type vs. "the 6:00 news with So-and-So"

Manufacturing News

Place for Truth?

Academia: search for truth valued even where no market; sometimes "we" ought to support something even if no market for it Epistemic paralysis: can't remember where things came from because swimming in information

Shared experiences? "Balkanization of media consumption" (Sunstein?) Seal for those willing to open notes? (Lessig)