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Global Voices

The Folks With the Laptops

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

A quick note from the Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2010, happening in Santiago, Chile. This is a unique gathering of bloggers, citizen activists, and NGO representatives who have come together to discuss citizen media for two days. All of them enthusiastic about digital and social media and excited about all the great possibilities - you would think. In the very first session, discussing the citizen media landscape in Chile, the issue of access quickly emerged as a central problem.

The Global Voices crowd acknowledged that this kind of summit can only be held by the information elite, those who can't even imagine a life without Internet access (entering the conference auditorium, the only thing I saw in the gloom at first was the bluish glow of several hundreds of open laptops). For digital media to have real political relevance, and we all agree that there is a huge potential, the digital divide must be bridged. Otherwise you will have those people participating in public dialogue whose voices could have been heard anyway because they are members of a country's education elite, often interested in politics and willing to communicate with politicians.

 

Half Mast or Half Full?: The News Media in the New Decade

Antonio Lambino's picture

The Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School recently hosted an event entitled "How to Make Money in News: New Business Models for the 21st Century".  This reminded me of a Washington Post editorial by Michael Gerson contrastingly titled “Journalism’s slow, sad death”.  I came across the editorial a while back and decided to hold on to my copy, intending to reflect on some of Gerson’s points.  Chancing upon the Shorenstein Center event provided me with just the opportunity.

As I reread Gerson’s piece, the following point jumped out at me: “… the whole (news and information) system is based on a kind of intellectual theft.  Internet aggregators (who link to the news they don’t produce) and bloggers would have little time to collect or comment upon without the costly enterprise of newsgathering and investigative reporting.  The old-media dinosaurs remain the basis for the entire media food chain.  But newspapers are expected to provide their content free on the Internet.”

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