Future of Journalism (part 94)

Some soundbites from a Future of Journalism conference in London yesterday organised by the Axess Foundation’s Media and Democracy programme.

  • The connection between new media and “regime change” in countries with authoritarian governments is much overdone. Mass protests fail much of the time. New media’s effect works at a deeper, slower level to change beliefs and assumptions in society. (Abiye Megenta, Ethiopian political journalist, Oxford University).
  • Citizen journalism doesn’t work as a standalone business. (Turi Munthe, Demotix).
  • News media agenda change: Metro is the most popular paper in Britain and it doesn’t cover cost of what the Daily Mirror covered in,say, 1980. (Professor Stephen Coleman, Leeds University).
  • Internet and new media did a lot in the 2010 election but didn’t change the dynamics of the campaign. (Andrew Sparrow, political blogger for The Guardian).
  • In a world in which more internet news sources go behind paywalls, an increasing proportion of those that remain free will be government-funded, such as Russia Today (rebranded to disguise its origins as the bland “RT”) or China’s new 24-hour channel. (Evgeny Morozov, Georgetown University).
  • American foundation-funded investigative startup ProPublica uses a network of 5000 volunteers to crowdsource. A recent project which dependent on that large number: did your Congressman get given free tickets for the Superbowl? (Paul Steiger, ProPublica).
  • Recall all the technologies which were said to be transformational and which weren’t: facsimile newspapers delivered by wireless (1940s), Citzens Band radio, the CD-ROM, the interactive TV red button. (James Curran, Goldsmiths University).
  • In 2002, only 4 countries censored the internet. Now, 40 states do so. (Peter Barron, Google).

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