Jeff’s intro: “If you’re a journalist, journalism student, or someone who respects the written word…”
9:10 The Self-Informing Public – Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu)
“I’m what’s known in New York as a cultural Jew.”
“Sometimes it’s a shock to realize news is a lot older than journalism … News is the answer to a social question, “What is happening and why should I care.” News is the oldest form of social media. Possibly as old as human settlement itself. Talking drums in africa carried news, and in a way that was the start of the telecommunications industry.”
“The scale on which we live changes – that’s what brings journalists into the picture. We experienced a revolution in the “awayness” of things, and that’s why we need journalists to inform us about our world. But, it wasn’t always so.”
In a fishing village, everything is first-person – people witness ships coming in, babies being born. There is “news without journalism.” But, in a 20,000 community, things occuring in one corner is not being witness by people in another. “We have an increase in social opacity, and people may not be informed about what’s happening in their world. It’s the expansion of social scale” that brings journalists to the world. It’s what creates the local newspaper – to inform us about the place where we live.
This talk is fantastic. It makes me want to be in college again. “There is an increase in opacity, and we send journalists out to collect news to overcome it.”
Talking about how news went from a tool of merchants – business – to being something that exists to inform the public. “Today Twitter extends the press, giving [making?] each of us a node on the network. What’s magical about this is not only that we can live on a global scale, but it’s almost like we’re in a fishing village in that – through Twitter – we can be self-informing.”
Now, through Twitter, we are experiencing a revolution in “the nearness of things.” It creates a dilemma. We still need journalists – “the world is still opaque” – but the world is now self-informing.
(Such a powerful observation about the new role of journalism – journalists are no longer valuable just for reducing opacity, because we can do that for ourselves, again. Journalism needs to once again be about craft, about narrative, about perspective.)