Yesterday, I posted a record of my personal life in links. My mother recently left the print industry frustrated. I recently became a blogger. Her resignation makes me wonder about how to maintain the public sphere without newspapers. Neither of us are sure yet. All I know from recent research is that I’m glad common sense will still get you a long way.
Here’s another link from yesterday. Buzzmachine writes in “Citizen journalism ruins the world (again)” that:
It may be a mistake for news organizations to keep begging people to send them stuff. That’s the way they think — centralized, controlling, exclusive. But the better structure may be for journalists to curate the best of what is out on the web. Rather than playing wack-a-mole on the occasional mistake/rumor/lie sent it, editors would better serve if they found the best content anywhere, not just among that which was sent to them.
Some recent research I did for Inside Islam for an Obsession entry helps put this in context. Obsession is a video/propaganda piece that used newspapers to send out the dvd as a paid advertisement (even the NY Times agreed). Fox News, however, was the only news source to publish an interview online with film makers that is gushingly naive about the videos content. Here’s their request for stuff.
Participation, of course, was limited to those people have seen the video and Fox viewers. At one point, a reader asks if they will be using the video for educational purposes at the University level. Use propaganda as educational material. Yikes. Obviously, the interview did not include many mainstream, moderate Muslim voices. Sheila Musaji, editor for The American Muslim, says it’s a mistake to focus on “Obsession” when discussing radical Islam because the issue is a real threat to the Muslim community, too.
Such [extremist] individuals and groups are marginal at best, but they are “useful idiots” in this well coordinated and well funded campaign of villification of the entire Muslim community. Local communities need to speak out forcefully and loudly against such individuals and groups and the venom they spread. They are certainly not a threat to America, but are a threat to the Muslim community.
The Muslim community reacted as any functioning news room would. With posts like this one from The American Muslim. They added resources and case studies and left them open-ended, reminding users to send in reactions and check back in for updated content.
As important as the web is, it’s not going to save print media. Before it does, there has to be some alternative other than blogs. The industry has serious resource issues which made it easy for special interest groups to slide in the back door at the right price. Nobody asked for detailed source information and when the dvd was pulled, no one dug around online for additional resources that could offer the moderate Muslim side of the story. See the entry on Inside Islam for links about this. Also, it made them susceptible to the editor’s blog, written by the most boring, dry, closed-lipped bloggers there are (in comparison to other professional bloggers).
Print media need not panic. Just think before asking for help from the internet community. And update it when they reply.
A recent entry from Online Journalism Blog presents a good solution. With RSS feeds, newspapers can make stories updatable and responsive to users. Usually we know RSS feeds by other names like the news feed on Facebook. OJB asks:
Why can’t feeds just be called ’stories’? Why don’t we ‘follow’ stories instead of subscribe to them?
This is a great solution. Now, if we can just explain to journalists what that means. Maybe this post will help put things in context.