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We Media Blog

Global forum 3 - 4 May, London

Putting the we back into media

  • Alfred Hermida
  • 5 May 06, 10:26 AM

media_chairs203.jpgOne overwhelming issue that emerged out of the We Media event was the continuing divide between the mainstream media and the blogging community.

The two are talking to each other, but all too often this conversation descends into a war of words. Both sides have a tendency to adopt a defensive position when challenged, and this in turn leads to a dialogue of the deaf.

This sort of approach leads nowhere.

This is not about blaming big media or the bloggers. This is a plea for the two sides to be more open to each other, to look at what they can learn from each other and to find ways of working together.

It there is one thing we can learn from this week's conference is that the stress has to be on the "we" rather than on "media".

wemedia203.jpgThe world is changing and as we head in a participatory future, everyone involved in the media has to be open to sharing knowledge and experience.

In a period of uncertainty and rapid change, those who succeed may be the ones who find ways of tapping into the wisdom of the crowd.

Now that the We Media conference has come and gone, I am signing off. This blog was set up to provide an insight into the debates, arguments and ideas coming out of the two-day forum and I hope it has fulfilled that task.

Thank you to all the people who contributed to the debate with their comments. Many delegates at the conference were reading the blog so some of these ideas will have filtered back to them.

Comments  Post your comment

Journalism, as a profession is not licenced. Gathering facts and information to put on a communication network doesn't require a licence.

Readers have to be able to read or hear materials in different medium and then decide if they believe or trust the source.

Bloggers are, just like reporters, and editors, able to gather facts.

They may 'spin' their facts or report their stories differently, but that is part of humanity.

The Internet has long made it possible for individuals to broadcast online.

Blogging, perhaps has it's start with news aggregators like Matt Drudge http://www.drudgereport.com in the United States, or Pierre Bourque http://www.bourque.com in Canada.

Those sites would get news tips and report them on their web pages.

Blogging allows people to investigate, and then report.

Merging different blogs and news reports is another part of the new media.

We stand at the start of a new exciting stage of news reporting.

James

http://www.theinfozone.net

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I attended the We Media fringe meeting and it was clear to me that Big Media and Corporate types were at a loss to understand WHY there was such heat generated between the "floor" and the "stage". I covered the meeting, and talked to several of the attendees, podcast it. And that neatly illustrated the difference.

"They" have only just noticed that this revolution is not only underway but busily changing the territory they are used to controlling. But They show no signs of actually engaging in the activities being discussed, which have been going on for years, only now entering their radar.

I came to the conclusion that there is a major divergence of purpose which cannot be bridged by such conferences - which represent "them" indulging "us". Our purpose (bloggers, podcasters etc) is to show them new reciprocal models and the social benefits; theirs, to conform us to standardised, easy to digest morsels within the Twin Temples of Entertainment and News.

Conferences like this are designed, it seems, primarily to flatter the gullible.

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I was not able to attend the conference.

However, from seeing how some of the main-stream-media, especially some of the older journalists, have reacted toward the new technological advances, I think what we really are seeing is the same old fear that has accompanied all technological advances.

When the newspaper business moved from setting lead type to plates, there was enormous fear that jobs would be lost.

When television became possible, there were many who feared radio would die.

As technology, styles and society advances, there will always be those who don't understand the changes.

James

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  • 4.
  • At 05:57 PM on 07 May 2006,
  • Andrew wrote:

The reason for the 'them' and 'us' attitude is because for all these years there has only been a 'them'. With the rise of blogs and citizen journalists there is now at last an 'us'. The people can speak and be heard and challenge the status quo as put forward by the mainstream media.

The likes of the BBC seem happy to engage in a debate, which is a good thing, but only as long as it's done within their own frame of reference.

Well this isn't going to be the way it's going to be. There's a revolution going on in the world of reporting and the schism between mainstream media and the bloggers simply shows the vast differences in the way news is reported.

Bloggers should keep on treading their own path and keep challenging this status quo. This isn't just about news it's an argument about ideals, truth and facts. It's also worth remembering that journalists in the media are constrained by the nature of their own institutions and aren't always free to say what they really think, feel or know to be true.

With bloggers these shackles simply do not exist. That doesn't make all bloggers good bloggers, but the variety of information now means its possible to get a different perspective on the world.

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What must also be considered is that on the Internet, the areas of libel and slander is still being explored by the courts. There are increasingly going to be cases which come forward on blogs and other forums.

For some, the idea that a blog or forum is an open place to attack or insult a person, company or celebrity is paramount.

Often the msm is not as free to comment, that is true. They operate with lawyers who are experienced in these areas.

Truth is a defense for any legal action in a libel or slander case.

When you go back in time, the main stream media choose carefully what they would, or more frequently would not report.

Many of the excesses by US President Kennedy today would never have been ignored as they were in the early 1960s.

Has reporting improved as the 'tabloid-style' of journalism has increased?

That is the path we must be aware of.

James

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It is about time we the people become protagonists in the delivery of news.

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  • 7.
  • At 01:34 PM on 22 May 2006,
  • james wrote:

http://green.tv/ is a new broadband TV channel for environmental films. We run 3 types of content:

1. 'Top Down' - traditional 'patrician' broadcasting where films get made and pushed out

2. 'Sideways' - films from environmental ngo's etc. that we can aggregate

3. 'Bottom Up' - user generated content

One of the interesting things we've learned is that there categories overlap significantly. For example, an ngo might commission the same 'bottom up' indep. filmmaker to make their 'sideways' campaigning film. Equally, an ngo might partner with a broadcaster to commision a film.

However, the most interesting thing we've learned is that these distinctions are on the way out. The Internet is letting people replace the old 'patrician' commisioning model with collaborative funding models - as illustrated by projects like http://www.aswarmofangels.com - and by collaborative filmmaking itself - which we're working hard to set up through green.tv.

Discussion is at http://blog.green.tv/ if you're interested,

James.

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With only 15.7% of the planet connected to the internet, and of that 1 billion (approx) of a population of about 6.6 billion... and only about 42 million with weblogs... it's difficult to negotiate much progress through weblogs at this point. Especially since there's not a large correlation of growth between internet usage and blogs.

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