Content Ninja's Weblog

An exploratory journey on the edge of newspaper evolution

The universe does NOT revolve around us March 28, 2008

Dan Schultz, blogging over at MediaShift Idea Lab (http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2008/03/medias-new-community-role.html), makes a good argument that most newspapers haven’t taken the digital revolution far enough.

“What people are realizing now is that it also isn’t enough to simply enable comments, publish the occasional user-submitted-photo or blog, or incorporate a few pieces of interactive content. All of these things are small steps in the right direction, but small steps are slow and costly in the world of software,” he writes.

 As we’ve been discussing here, the key is building a digital community. Schultz suggests that journalists take up agenda facilitation instead of agenda-setting.

“I’m suggesting that local news sites facilitate ‘bottom up’ agenda. The individuals (the bottom) can suggest issues and those issues may be picked up, prompting natural investigative attention and a swarm response,” he says.

Are you gagging? “Where’s the journalism?” you ask.

“Communities still need the people who find the stories that have fallen under the radar, spend weeks researching the details, and double check the facts,” he says. His argument falls apart, I think, as he continues: “Paid professionals would still report on new issues to see if their community takes interest, but now the digital version of the physical community they serve can act as a living breathing tip-line.”

If the digital community is nothing more than a tip line and the journalist is still the center of the universe, we haven’t pushed the bubble far enough.

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One Response to “The universe does NOT revolve around us”

  1. Dan Schultz Says:

    Hey – I’m glad you found the post interesting (and this site looks like one I should add to my feed list…)

    I just wanted to clarify a point regarding the “tip line” — I didn’t mean to imply that journalists would still be the “center of the universe.” I just meant that while they continue to be journalists they should respond, adapt and work with the community they serve by taking advantage of the heightened communication that the community has through digital means. Maybe I used a loaded term when I said tip line!

    Anywho, I’ll hopefully be making a followup post since you bring up a valid issue and there are also a few comments on the IdeaLab itself that bring up up a few kinks in the argument…

    Maybe I’ll see you there;)


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