Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:16 pm Post subject: The tyranny of reporters
This was posted on SDA yesterday, I think it's a worthy read:
Stephen Strauss wrote:
When I give lectures about the future of journalism, recently I have been making reference to the weakening, if not the entire overthrow, of what I term The Dictatorship of the Writer. What I mean is simply that in the pre-Internet past reporters and writers of various sorts would nose about a subject and after a certain amount of research decide it was time to write. They then ordered the information they had uncovered in a way they thought was best. This was the lede. This was the significant anecdote. This was the quotation that went in, this that which never was seen again...
...Another part of the change is the increasing realization that we can show what was hidden before. Instead of an interpretation of what someone meant, a writer can include a link that says effectively: "Here is the background material I used. Here is me interviewing the subject on a podcast or a video and here is precisely what he/she said. Here is the raw material out of which I constructed my dialectic, and you can decide whether I got the argument right or wrong based not on the power of my rhetoric but on the facts at hand." ...
It's fairly short and worth reading the whole thing. I think the idea that people are coming to expect access to raw data is important - a media company that realizes this and leverages the resources at their disposal will do very well. However, it would require a sea change in how editors and writers see their own role - from prioritizing and organizing specific details, to providing and packaging raw content. Essentially, they have to willingly relinquish control of the narrative if they hope to compete with new media.
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