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Apr 14, 2008

Editor Control Versus Spontaneous Conferences

Journalists, Citizens, and the Media Conversation

In my first post to this blog I said that the professional/citizen journalist debate was a "topic best left for another day." It seems that the time has finally come for me to put my two cents out there, and I'll be doing it by exploring what it means to be a journalist and a citizen in this digital world. Ultimately, though, I hope to convince everyone that although it may seem difficult, there doesn't have to be a tradeoff between quality and democracy: we can have it all.

Defining the Pieces
Before diving into roles, I want to draw a line between two different (yet inherently related) components of a media conversation:

  • The agenda - what is being talked about? Individuals have a personal agenda, communities have a collective agenda, andreality imposes an agenda of its own.
  • The information - what is being said? Any story involves facts and data, most topics inspire opinion and commentary, and information gains more meaning with additional perspective and context...

Content in Today's Society

It's not just bloggers whose content is being used, shared, and profited from today - perhaps now bloggers can begin to appreciate what other industries, like the recording industry or the movie-making industry, has had to face in this new digital age.

How did it come to this? Jonathan Hanel, a digital media, entertainment and technology lawyer posts on his blog about the nature of content in today's society.

He sees six reasons for content's devaluation ...

Ed: Legacy journalists still don't get it. Traditional editors control the news, press release flow, letters to the editor. Oligopoly control of circulation gives them the power. 

Online, users have more choice. Users have freedom to opine, self express. Cross linked blogs become hot conversations that bring loyal followings together in virtual conferences - spontaneously. 

Can legacy thinkers adjust to the world of shared conversations?
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