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Media – Context is Key. Why Journalists need to think like Bloggers

Journalists, or more importantly publishers, should think about the dissemination of ‘news’ as what true bloggers, as the very best do, versus the walled garden of protecting interests within the historic and current paradigm. The best bloggers are accountable, reference sources, link to competing sources, and most importantly provide context.

Newspapers Online

Newspapers Online

I am a news junkie in the most precocious sense of the term. My morning coffee is consumed perusing over 50 local, regional, national, international and eclectic online news websites, RSS feeds and social media accounts. I respond to some blogs, and share what I feel is interesting or noteworthy on networks through my Twitter account, occasionally on Facebook and now on Google+.

Of interest was a recent comment from a peripheral ‘friend’: we met through social media, and during what many call now a ‘real life’ meeting (as opposed to a second life meeting?) he, quite openly in front of a group, said ‘I follow Mat’s Twitter feed every day for the news that is important’ – a frankly stunning statement – which lead to the question, Why? ‘Because you provide context – you sit on a topic, provide links to various news sources. If I’m interested then through those links I can go deeper’. Interesting, as the idea of using others as curators for news is a recent phenomenon: the debate surrounding Andy Carvin’s Twitter feed on the Middle East likely the most paramount as a contemporary meme. (See The Atlantic’s article ‘Curating the Revolution‘)

That was a personal reminder to explore the idea of context in media. While I have ranted about Media Innovation, The News of the World Scandal, Paywalls, Comparing Online News to Vegetables – those posts have all been circling a wider, more complex and vitally important question: what is the role of journalism in the ‘between world’ of legacy and social media?

Media has become a misunderstood term, pejorative in some circles, as it ecompasses differential meanings depending on context. Does media solely mean TV, Radio, Print? Does it include social media platforms and interactions? Is YouTube media? These are questions that have been asked, not fully answered by the academic community let alone those (us?) who participate in, and comment on, news – and therein lies the determination. News – what is it, who sources articles, who makes them relevant, and especially in terms of social media – at what point does a meme move, potentially, to propaganda?

No doubt this will be a continual topic as more information consumers move from the traditional platforms of TV and Radio to online, and as both legacy and citizen media attempt to monetize.

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