Charlie Beckett’s Supermedia, Saving journalism so it can save the world has been pubilshed in the UK and soon will be in the US. It’s really a treatise on networked journalism.
I was honored to have been asked to write the foreword. Snippets:
First, let’s get this straight: No one says that amateurs will or should replace professional journalists. That’s not what networked journalism is about. Instead, networked journalism proposes to take advantage of the new opportunities for collaboration presented by the linked ecology of the internet. Professional and amateur, journalist and citizen may now work together to gather and share more news in more ways to more people than was ever possible before. Networked journalism is founded on a simple, self-evident and self-interested truth: We can do more together than we can apart. . . .
By joining and creating networks of journalistic effort – helping with curation, editing, vetting, education, and, yes, revenue – these news organizations can, indeed, grow. Newspapers can get hyperlocal or international. TV stations can have cameras everywhere. Investigators can have many more hands helping them dig. News sites can become more efficient by doing what they do best and linking to the rest. Reporters can get help and corrections on their work before and after it is published.
The tools journalists can use are constantly expanding. Links and search enable journalism to be found. Blogs allow anyone to publish and contribute. Mobile devices help witnesses share what they see – even as it happens – in the form of text, photos, audio, and video. Databases and wikis enable large groups to pool their knowledge. Social services can connect experts and communities of information.
This, I believe, is the natural state of media: two-way and collaborative. The one-way nature of news media until now was merely a result of the limitations of production and distribution. Properly done, news should be a conversation among those who know and those who want to know, with journalists – in their new roles as curators, enablers, organizers, educators – helping where they can. The product of their work is no longer the publication-cum-fishwrap but instead a process of progressive enlightenment.
So the means, economics, architecture, tools, and technology of journalism all change. What I hope changes most, though, is the culture. I hope journalism becomes more open, transparent, inclusive, flexible. I do believe that journalism will be stronger and more valuable as a component of networks than it was as the product of professional priesthoods. I also believe the amateurs who help in this process will be stronger for learning the standards, practices, and lessons journalists have learned over the years. Both will be better off for realizing that we are in this together, we are members of the same communities. But even with all this change, the essential task of journalism is still unchanged: We want to uncover what the world knows and what the world needs to know and bring them together. . . .
That power – the means, opportunities, and implications of networked journalism – is explored most ably in the pages that follow. Until now, networked journalism has been the subject mostly of blog posts and conference panel discussions. The idea and practice of networked journalism needs this thorough examination and this manifesto in its favor. And I second Charlie Beckett’s contention that we in the news business and in society need networked journalism not just to protect but to expand journalism’s future.