Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine writes an paean to collaboration between professional journalism and the citizenry in today’s Guardian Media supplement entitled "Reporting the Truth is a Collaborative Process".
Using the painful story of the West Virginia miners and how the media reported wrongly that they were alive as a backdrop, he argues:
It is time for journalists to tell the
audience not just what they know but also what they do not know. And it
is time for journalists to admit that, in the end, they don’t decide
what is true. The public makes that judgment. So journalists must arm
the public to do that job. We get to the truth together.
I think that that is certainly what is already happening in this country. I’ve written before about the thinking going on at the BBC when it comes to collaboration with citizen sources and journalists, for instance. But in a competitive environment like US TV news, there must be a temptation to hang on to illusions/delusions of the correspondent knowing more than the 40 others standing just off camera in the scrum.
I really like Mr Jarvis’s first sentence in this article, which makes a strong maxim: "News is not a product, it’s a process."
: : To pull this skein of thought back into the corporate communications arena, good communications should always be thought of as a process too. Like I mused the other week we need to think more about dialogue, keeping content in beta, being more comfortable with unpasteurised content. Command and control thinking has sometimes led to the pushing out of comms packages/products, with the illusion/delusion of relevance and impact.
: : There is also an interesting piece about the founder of the phenomenal craigslist.com in the Guardian Media section if you’re interested / haven’t read enough about him already. Here’s his view on the future of the media (craigslist is credited with speeding up the demise of regional newspapers in the US by nicking their lucrative classifieds revenue:
"The newspaper industry is
really not in trouble. There’s going to be a transition into new forms
of delivery, and the faster this happens the less painful it is going
to be. The deal is I think that journalists are going to come out of it
with better careers. Unfortunately if you’re running a printing press
or delivering papers, then not so."