Beyond Objectivity: Global Voices and the Future of Journalism
Lokman Tsui, Berkman Fellow
This project attempts to help us understand the cultures, practices and
people of a new kind of news production environment: Global Voices, an
international project that brings together and translates blogs and
citizen media from around the world in order to, “aggregate, curate,
and amplify the global conversation online – shining light on places
and people other media often ignore.”
Drawing on Global Voices as an exemplar, I argue that we need to move beyond objectivity towards "hospitality" in pursuing the potential of journalism in a networked world. Roger Silverstone defines hospitality as the "ethical obligation to listen." Indeed, in a world where the internet makes it so much easier for everybody to speak, Global Voices asks us: "The world is talking. Are you listening?" What is ultimately at stake is perhaps best described by Silverstone, who argues that, "it is only by attending to the realities of global communication, but also and even more so to its possibilities, that we will be able to reverse what otherwise will be a downward spiral towards increasing global incomprehension and inhumanity.”
Global Voices shows us that we would do ourselves a disservice by limiting our imagination to the ideal type of journalism from a previous era. Without expanding our imagination, we cannot hope to understand how the internet might alter the constraints of the relationship between journalism and democracy for the better. Indeed, communication scholar James Carey helped us understand that "the meaning of democracy changes over time because forms of communication with which to conduct politics change."
Lokman is a doctoral candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation examines institutional changes of journalism, driven by the internet, in a globalized world. His research interests center more generally around new media, global communication, and journalism. He divides his time between Boston, Philadelphia, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.