It’s 2016. More than 1/3rd of the world population is on Internet. Most people are blogging, tweeting, adding their thoughts into Facebook or some other kind of online platforms(tumblr, blogger, Instagram etc). I believe that the people who are not on the internet will soon be, considering the efforts being made. Also, I would argue that even newspapers(more generally, print media) doesn’t reach everyone on the planet. Let’s realize that this is the age of Internet, freedom of expression, and an era where at least one person would express something on internet as soon as it happens with their first-hand experience. Those thoughts/experiences would be more unbiased than that of ‘professional journalists’ who rely on interviews and research for collecting information. Yes, community journalism is what we need. I am probably imagining the world too optimistically. Consider the use of technology by people to report general news happening around them. It would create a world with more informed people, who understand different perspectives of the world. I remember when a shooting happened in Boston a few months ago, my parents from India immediately called me to make sure I was fine. However, looking at the tweets I knew that shooting didn’t happen openly, 2 rival groups shot a couple shots on each other. The media my parents were exposed to was really biased in making the statement that US is a place where public shootings happen all the time. It was making their opinion rather than informing them. There is a Facebook page, Cdd Acontece, that is very local for ‘City of God’. The ‘journalist’ is just a moderator of the page in the sense that she makes sure that posts only classified as ‘news’ come through. She filters the posts relating to marketing, selling or other kinds that are not news for people living in that area. It would be nice to see more of community journalism happening, and then we just need aggregators like Reddit, HackerNews which are interest-based. But the technology these ‘journalism companies’ are developing are more in the direction of CRMs. No doubt we would need permalinks to all the ‘news’ aggregators. Also, we need our AI systems to be smart enough to understand the difference between a ‘news’ tweet/blog or a usual cat picture upload. The good thing about platforms like Reddit and HackerNews is that they are as liberal as a platform can get. Every user creates their own comment, thread and most importantly news, that is shared to the world. The users don’t create news on these platforms, just share their blogs(or other content). But again, I don’t understand how these ranking systems work. They could still be controlled by a few people who own the ‘news aggregator’ company. The direction we need to take is not of creating 'news aggregator companies' but that of 'media companies'. Sometimes the line between these 2 is really blurry. I would like to give an example of Twitter in this case. Twitter has location-based 'Trends' section, which is algorithmically curated based on what hashtag is trending(*almost in real-time). Facebook also did something similar on their webpage's right sidebar. Soon they were suspected with filtering the trends, and "news" was full of it. I got to know about this particular news from Twitter trends(this news was also trending in Facebook trends). Flipboard is my way of reading news when I feel like news, but trust me Twitter is from where I get most of them. Although Facebook denies the allegations, I just lost trust in them. Twitter is not doing a great business, however Facebook is. So where are we headed with this problem. I'm hyperlinking all these news (journalism) websites here in this post. Do we really need them? Internet is the free place, Tim Berners Lee's idea of collective information sharing that is helping every-one of us. We are not doing so great with it. We are allowing what goes into our minds in the hands of a few journalism-based companies which can be manipulated by a bunch of rich people, creating biases in every country about other countries.
Considering all the buzz about open-source, people standing on each other's shoulders; we created world full github repos which anyone can fork and build upon, I want to ask one question. Why can we not create a open source 'media-creation and consumption' platform specifically created for news. It is no secret that our minds are controlled by media we consume these days. As this article from Chicago Monitor says:
It seems that our news networks are trying to elect our candidates rather than objectively inform us how to elect them. This is a major dilemma. So what are we objectively doing about it. Are we even aware of what is happening around us? After Brexit happening, I have started to loose my trust in democracy a little bit. I understand how it allows everyone to hold their own opinions, but does everyone even have their opinions about everything? The job is journalism should be to inform every-one of how the world is (so they can find for themselves what goes along with their opinions), not to tell people their own opinions about how the world is. I am aware that how people would blog (tweet or more broadly, express) their own opinions about any event that happens, all I am saying is why do journalists have the power to filter these out, creating a filter-bubble around everyone. I listen to a podcast called 'Hello Internet', in episode #66, CGP Grey talks about how he never felt Brexit could happen because his filter bubble never allowed him to see the world from other perspective. However Dr. Brady has friends with different opinions and was considering Brexit could happen and why people think it should happen. Dr. Brady was definitely more informed one here.