18 December 2009

Our New Media Rules, Part 2

From Part 1: We need a new media, retarded monkey, drunken midget, Dan Gillmor, here's My take on this: 

We will create a service to notify online readers, should they choose to sign up for it, of errors we've learned about in our journalism. Users of this service can choose to be notified of major errors only (in our judgment) or all errors, however insignificant we may believe them to be.

We invite our audience to participate in the journalism process, in a variety of ways that include crowdsourcing, audience blogging, wikis and many other techniques. We make it clear that we're not looking for free labour – and will work to create a system that rewards contributors beyond a pat on the back – but want above all to promote a multi-directional flow of news and information in which the audience plays a vital role.

We will make conversation an essential element of our mission. Among other things:

• The editorial pages will publish the best of, and be a guide to, conversation the community was having with itself online and in other public forums, whether hosted by the news organization or someone else.

• Editorials will appear in blog format, as will letters to the editor.

• We will encourage comments and forums, but in moderated spaces that encourage the use of real names and insisted on (and enforced) civility.

• Comments from people using verified real names will be listed first.

We seek the positive to point it out, analyze it why it works and encourage it and similar efforts. To fall back on “negativity sells” is to deny the power of positive examples. To dwell on failure and ignore success is to undermine the natural tendency of social progress. A critical eye sees just as much in the good and can teach others about its strengths.

We embrace the hyperlink in every possible way. Our website will include the most comprehensive possible listing of other media in our community, whether we were a community of geography or interest. We will link to all relevant blogs, photo-streams, video channels, database services and other material we can find, and use our editorial judgement to highlight the ones we consider best for the members of the community. And we'd liberally link from our journalism to other work and source material relevant to what we're discussing, recognising that we are not oracles but guides.

Our archives are to be freely available, with links on every single thing we've published as far back as possible, with application interfaces (APIs) to help other people use our journalism in ways we haven't considered ourselves.

We'd routinely point to our competitors' work, including (and maybe especially) the best of the new entrants, such as bloggers who cover specific niche subjects. When we cover the same topic, we'd link to them so our audience can gain wider perspectives. We'd also talk about, and point to, competitors when they covered things we missed or ignored.

Beyond routinely pointing to competitors, we will make a special effort to cover and follow up on their most important work, instead of the common practice today of pretending it didn't exist. Basic rule: the more we wish we'd done the journalism ourselves, the more prominent the exposure we'd give the other folks' work. This will have at least two beneficial effects. First, we help persuade our community of an issue's importance. Second, we help people understand the value of solid journalism, no matter who did it.

The word "must" – as in "The president must do this or that" – would be banned from editorials or other commentary from our own journalists, and we'd strongly discourage it from contributors. It is a hollow verb and only emphasizes powerlessness. If we want someone to do something, we'd try persuasion instead, explaining why it's a good idea and what the consequences will be if the advice is ignored.

No opinion pieces or commentary from major politicians or company executives. These folks almost never actually write what appears under their bylines. We're being just as dishonest as they are by using this stuff. If they want to pitch a policy, they should post it on their own web pages, and we'll be happy to point to it.

Creating a new media for Our unrepresented masses, whether it's a newspaper that forges enlightened opinion or a website being a sharpshooter on current issues or a radio show that fosters constructive analysis and dialogue or a TV newscast that eschews frippery for facts and context, whatever form it takes, We need a new media and We need it now.

As Bill Moyers said: "The quality of a democracy and the quality of its journalism are inextricably joined." It is no coincidence, then, that Our democracy and Our journalism are trash heaps of failure.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

1 comment:

bathmate said...

good posting.i like it. thank u. :)-