Media Re:public is out! Everything you need is at www.mediarepublic.org
168 pages. Yikes. For those of you who don’t have time – just watch the video. It’s only a minute long. Tells it all. Or almost.
The ADHD version is:
* Participatory media is great, has lots of potential.
* But it’s not doing everything we have counted on journalism institutions to do and left to its own devices, it never will.
* Those journalism institutions, never perfect, are in serious trouble. Many will save themselves, as businesses, but there is no guarantee they will maintain their commitment to doing the journalism we need.
* People who for whatever reason (time, money, skills, desire) are not taking charge of creating their own online news diet still deserve to have access to comprehensive credible sources of news.
* The U.S. media system was not handed down from the heavens on tablets. It’s time to look at models from other countries – stronger public media, newspapers less dependent on advertising, etc.
* We do a lot of studying of online activity, but we don’t know nearly enough about how real people in the real world take in information from many sources and what that means for how journalism in the public interest needs to evolve.
* We, the people who care about the public getting the information it needs, must take the best from both worlds to build the media we need.
Audiophiles – Your subscription to the Radio Berkman podcast (if you’re not subscribed, do, immediately! Find “Radio Berkman” via iTunes. It’s free.) will soon feature David Weinberger quizzing me on what it’s all about.
Still reading? Stop! Go to the site, download the papers.
And thanks again to everyone who helped, especially the Berkman staff who pulled stuff together in the last few days — Seth Young, Dan Jones, Sebastian Diaz, Lexie Koss, Jillian York, and of course the indefatigable Rob Faris.
The past year has been an amazing learning process and a wonderful collaboration with far too many people to thank properly. The Berkman community of fellows, staff and affiliates is an inspiring place to work. I am especially grateful to John Palfrey, for his patient and insightful guidance, Colin Maclay for his excellent questions and unusual metaphors, and my co-author Rob Faris for his patience and perserverance in getting it right. John Bracken and Elspeth Revere of the MacArthur Foundation were much more than sponsors – their thoughtful perspective and their passion for these issues informed and inspired the work. They were instrumental in helping to gather 100+ remarkable people at USC Annenberg in March 2008 for the Media Re:public forum. A special thank you to everyone involved, whether you presented, moderated, listened, tweeted, blogged, or negotiated with the caterers and booked plane tickets (special thanks to Catherine Bracy, for that and everything else you make look so easy, and to Carey Andersen for her cheerful help with everything).
The research and this paper were much improved by the thoughtful critiques and expert advice of many generous and smart people within and without Berkman, including: David Ardia, Pat Aufderheide, Charlie Beckett, Josh Benton, Sasha Costanza-Chock, Jessica Clark, Carol Darr, Bruce Etling, Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, Dan Gillmor, Christine Gorman, Jon Greenberg, Eszter Hargittai, Andrew Heyward, Keith Hopper, Ellen Hume, Colleen Kaman, Beth Kolko, Dori Maynard, Ann Olson, Geneva Overholser, Jan Schaffer, Stephen Schultze, Doc Searls, Wendy Seltzer, Jake Shapiro, Ivan Sigal, Tom Stites, Lokman Tsui, David Weinberger, Lisa Williams, Ernest Wilson III, and Ethan Zuckerman. Thanks to all my research assistants, but especially Khadija, Dan and Matt, who worked harder and more cheerfully than could be imagined. I am also indebted to the dozens of media professionals, technologists and researchers for the interviews and conversations both formal and informal that shaped and challenged my thinking.
Cambridge, MA December 2008
Research assistants – Khadija Amjad, Dan J. Levy, Matt Hampel, Tihomir Tsenkulovski, Michael Mylrea, D. Yvette Wohn
Designer – Monica Katzenell
Copy editor – Nany Kotary
Additional editing/graphics – Jillian York, Lexie Koss, Tim Hwang, Brendan Ballou