Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Map to the Cave?

Well it seems that times have been pretty tough for 'old school' journalism. Media as we know it is going through some incredibly tough growing pains as it attempts embrace the digital era, and it's becoming more and more obvious, that analog anything is dead. first music, then newspapers, the print media, and today, like a scene out of a sci-fi movie, broadcast television.

If you haven't read or seen on the news (which apparently maybe we haven't), local broadcast journalism has started what could be interpreted to a political observer, as the beginnings of a socialist environment. In an effort to survive the economic downturn and avoid total shut down on a larger scale, KFVE, KGMB and KHNL are merging stations to deliver one MASSIVE media outlet here in the islands. This is good for TV news media's survival, but could be interpreted as bad, to those who may fear that a lack in competition in news journalism, will no doubt lead to 'newsy' journalism which in turn of course means we are a few paces away from a complete and total political propaganda machine. Goodbye free speech, hello Kim Jong Il.

I know that sounds worrisome. Maybe even downright bad. The fact is though, that as the media voice of traditional outlets like newspapers, periodicals, and broadcast television begin to shrink into one small whisper, the digital media outlets continue to grow, diversify, and expand into screams. Google, Twitter and even Blogs (mine excluded) have all proven to be as or more effective than the status quo, in delivering useful and relevant content to knowledge hungry users. We are in the midst of a media renaissance.

The only question then, Is what are we saying? And maybe more importantly, what are we listening to?? Where cable-fed media had us for a full 30 minutes, covering all subjects of a front page index, the bookmarks on a web browser lead users to subject-specific content as determined by that user. Netscape had it right, in that NAVIGATOR is the position we assume for our own news content. That could mean MANY different things in terms of the shaping of our information world. Will we take the opportunity the internet has to offer us to thrive in critical thinking? Will we season ourselves with the cornucopia of perspectives out there to become better informed? Or will we simply retreat to a more specific perspective, sheltering ourselves in in a cave decorated with video clips of dogs peeing on themselves, fat folks breaking furniture, and musically talented toddlers?

One thing is for sure: the dynamics of between the general public and 'journalsim' as we know it is about to become a whole lot more complicated. You excited?
Mee tube.

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