Difference between revisions of "New and Old Media, Participation, and Information"

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@ BlakeGeno: You are not crazy for bringing up an interesting point! However, I would like to counter your argument against subsidizing mail distributions, because it is way to sustain skilled journalism. In addition, if the goal is to reach all communities, then we do not want to exclude those who but are not tech savvy. [[User:Qdang|Qdang]] 20:30, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
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@ BlakeGeno: You are not crazy for bringing up an interesting point! However, I would like to counter your argument against subsidizing mail distributions, because it is way to sustain skilled journalism. In addition, if the goal is to inform all communities, then we do not want to exclude those who but are not tech savvy. [[User:Qdang|Qdang]] 20:30, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
  
 
== Links from Class ==
 
== Links from Class ==

Revision as of 20:40, 4 March 2012

March 6

The profusion of low-cost media production and distribution has led to the rise of an alternative citizen-led media sector. Is this a passing fad of enthusiastic amateurs or the beginning of a fundamental restructuring of the way media and news are produced and consumed? Will the current trends lead to more information, better information, and better informed people or to an infinite stream of unreliable chatter? Will it lead to a more politically engaged populace or to an increasingly polarized society that picks its sources of information to match its biases and ignorance?


Assignments

Planning to work in a group? Let us know by this Friday, March 9 by emailing the instructors with a short paragraph explaining why a group approach to your proposed topic for the final project makes sense.


Readings

Optional Readings


Class Discussion

What do people think of "The Death and Life of the Great American Newspaper"?

I thought the author's first premise was that these old media outlets have an intrinsic value and should continue to exist. To be rather reactive and harsh, let them die. If they can't cope, good riddance. To be a bit more diplomatic, reasonable, and thoughtful, I think a basic flaw in his ideas is this idea that 'old media' as we think of it, that is these institutions like the NYTimes, WAPost, Time Mag, etc., were always there. The author talks about people coming to the US in the 1830s and being impressed with the number and quality of periodicals; but it wasn't even "professional" journalists as we think of them. It wasn't newsrooms of paid writers being directed by editors. It was what we think of as "citizen" journalists. At that period, there weren't the large industrial printing presses: It was movable type plate presses. So, the cost of physically producing a copy was roughly the same whatever the scale. After the industrial revolution, when steam began powering large presses, it became very marginally cheap to product a single print copy. So, if you were large, you could print them cheaper, and if you were small, you couldn't compete on price. A "citizen" paper couldn't hope to compete, largely because of the high barrier to entry with a mechanized press. Hence, the rise of large papers. The internet has taken us back to where the cost of publishing a given piece is the same for everyone. I think that this distinction between "citizen" and "professional" journalist is false. If you're reporting original news, you're a journalist. If you offer original analysis, you're a journalist.

So, then it comes to actually finding a solution to the quandary of actually getting good journalism in people's hands (or screens). Here I found the author's solutions to be, not only flawed in respect to my above premise, but also rather complicated and disturbingly focused on preserving physical periodicals out of principal. Subsidize mail distributions? That's the whole purpose of the internet. Still, I do see the need for someplace people can publish and read good news. Blogs don't usually work so well, because good writing and research takes time and effort. In order to keep a blog relevant, it really needs at least a weekly story. Most people would probably not be interested in publishing more than a story or two a year. I've certainly come across some great blogs, especially those run by a few professionals writing about news in their field. "science based medicine", for example, has some of the best medical reporting around, especially if you want the skeptical version. It helps that it has several contributors as well. But overall, quality control is still an issue, as is finding information centrally. One solution might be say, an online newspaper, with either paid or at lease vetted editors that accept user submitted stories, check facts, ensure that the story is at lease in some semblance well written, factually correct (at least generally), and basically edits what stories are published. They could also (as online publications already frequently do) update the stories easily as more facts come to light, or other users check facts, etc. I know that no individual component of this idea is new; it's sort of wiki meets blog applied to a newspaper format online, but I haven't seen it applied in this manner yet. It's not a perfect idea, but it's a whole lot more sensical than subsidies for newspaper subscription and other convoluted government fixes.

Am I crazy here? Anyone else have any counters or solutions to the author's ideas? BlakeGeno 07:00, 4 March 2012 (UTC)


March 6: New and Old Media, Participation, and Information Just Johnny 17:10, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Knight Commission Report on Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy link: http://www.knightcomm.org/executive-summary/ Qdang 04:14, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

What do people think of "The Death and Life of the Great American Newspaper"?

I thought the author's first premise was that these old media outlets have an intrinsic value and should continue to exist. To be rather reactive and harsh, let them die. If they can't cope, good riddance. To be a bit more diplomatic, reasonable, and thoughtful, I think a basic flaw in his ideas is this idea that 'old media' as we think of it, that is these institutions like the NYTimes, WAPost, Time Mag, etc., were always there. The author talks about people coming to the US in the 1830s and being impressed with the number and quality of periodicals; but it wasn't even "professional" journalists as we think of them. It wasn't newsrooms of paid writers being directed by editors. It was what we think of as "citizen" journalists. At that period, there weren't the large industrial printing presses: It was movable type plate presses. So, the cost of physically producing a copy was roughly the same whatever the scale. After the industrial revolution, when steam began powering large presses, it became very marginally cheap to product a single print copy. So, if you were large, you could print them cheaper, and if you were small, you couldn't compete on price. A "citizen" paper couldn't hope to compete, largely because of the high barrier to entry with a mechanized press. Hence, the rise of large papers. The internet has taken us back to where the cost of publishing a given piece is the same for everyone. I think that this distinction between "citizen" and "professional" journalist is false. If you're reporting original news, you're a journalist. If you offer original analysis, you're a journalist. 
 So, then it comes to actually finding a solution to the quandary of actually getting good journalism in people's hands (or screens). Here I found the author's solutions to be, not only flawed in respect to my above premise, but also rather complicated and disturbingly focused on preserving physical periodicals out of principal. Subsidize mail distributions? That's the whole purpose of the internet. Still, I do see the need for someplace people can publish and read good news. Blogs don't usually work so well, because good writing and research takes time and effort. In order to keep a blog relevant, it really needs at least a weekly story. Most people would probably not be interested in publishing more than a story or two a year. I've certainly come across some great blogs, especially those run by a few professionals writing about news in their field. "science based medicine", for example, has some of the best medical reporting around, especially if you want the skeptical version. It helps that it has several contributors as well. But overall, quality control is still an issue, as is finding information centrally. One solution might be say, an online newspaper, with either paid or at lease vetted editors that accept user submitted stories, check facts, ensure that the story is at lease in some semblance well written, factually correct (at least generally), and basically edits what stories are published. They could also (as online publications already frequently do) update the stories easily as more facts come to light, or other users check facts, etc. I know that no individual component of this idea is new; it's sort of wiki meets blog applied to a newspaper format online, but I haven't seen it applied in this manner yet. It's not a perfect idea, but it's a whole lot more sensical than subsidies for newspaper subscription and other convoluted government fixes.

Am I crazy here? Anyone else have any counters or solutions to the author's ideas? BlakeGeno 06:57, 4 March 2012 (UTC)


@ BlakeGeno: You are not crazy for bringing up an interesting point! However, I would like to counter your argument against subsidizing mail distributions, because it is way to sustain skilled journalism. In addition, if the goal is to inform all communities, then we do not want to exclude those who but are not tech savvy. Qdang 20:30, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Links from Class