‘It is a biased medium’: Douglas Rushkoff on power roles in journalism

Douglas Rushkoff has a thought-provoking look at internet power roles in journalism on the Nieman Journalism Lab, claiming a bias given to immediacy on the internet damages the value of journalism.

(…) at first glance the Internet seems to be different. It is a biased medium, to be sure, but biased to the amateur and to the immediate—as if to change some essential balance of power. Indeed, the Web so overwhelmingly tilts toward the immediate as to render notions of historicity and permanence obsolete. Even Google is rapidly converting to live search—a little list of not the most significant, but the most recent results for any query term. Likewise, our blog posts and tweets are increasingly biased not just toward brevity but immediacy—a constant flow, as if it is just humanity expressing itself.

But, he adds, this is not a sustainable model for “professional journalism” and the role of the Fourth Estate.

(…) a professional journalist isn’t just someone who has access to the newswires, or at least it shouldn’t be. A professional newsperson is someone who is not only trained to pursue a story and deconstruct propaganda, but someone who has been paid to spend the time and energy required to do so effectively. Corporations and governments alike spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on their public relations and communications strategies. They hire professionals to tell or, more often, obfuscate their stories. Without a crew of equally qualified—if not equally funded—professionals to analyze and challenge these agencies’ fictions, we are defenseless against them.

And thus, we end up in the same place we were before—only worse, because now we believe we own and control the media that has actually owned and controlled us all along.

See his full post here…

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