News to care about
Posted September 23, 2008on:
Someone has been picking up my haggard criticisms of the Internet and technological gizmos that keep us connected to others even if we don’t want to be. Am I really wrong for being suspicious of the possibility that giving people more freedom will reap digital unicorns and rainbows (and maybe, just maybe, actual news I care about?), and not this crap?
Gillmor takes the hopeful stand that “the audience will make the decisions,” and that online media sources will be the cornerstone of our daily news-getting because the audience demands it. How? By reading, listening, and watching it, by posting comments about it, by writing their own blog posts about it.
Gillmor concludes that we make our own news. Sometimes, we do it consciously. Sometimes, we do it without knowing we’re doing it, and then have to face the consequences. Sometimes, it’s not really news at all, but important to Mom and Aunt Sally, and dammit still news because we deem it so. So, what makes news newsworthy? Does it even matter anymore?
The Internet-loving people are taking over web caverns by storm and news is now whatever the hell we want it to be. Some of us still read newspapers (What are they? you ask), or piece together what’s going on in the world by scanning headlines of the Express. Some of us even find out about serious happenings such as the presidential debate by reading our friends’ Facebook comments.
I am all for unity and for people from around the world to participate in a conversation. But, if the conversation is considered newsworthy, I want it to be important and to affect more than a handful of people who have time to banter back and forth about whether or not the iPhone is better than Google’s Android. Ok, maybe more than a handful of people are interested, but still…What happened to critical thinking?
To answer such questions as:
- What is the role of journalism with all of the changes in the digital media landscape?
- Who is the reporter when anyone can make news on the Internet?
I offer one direct and simple answer.
To the journalists: Don’t stop working your asses off to help us be informed citizens. Don’t stop engaging us and making us think.
To the readers: Keep reading what the journalists say. Read a lot and from different sources. Read, period. Think.
So do I think the definition of audience and reporter should be considered one and the same? No way.