Saturday, February 16, 2013

Discussion questions for 2/18

Overall after doing these readings one question that struck me is that several of the articles talked about the new media consumer expecting to read their news from an aggregator of some sort (I currently use Flipboard to consolidate many of my daily news readings). Many news sources and aggregators tend to tailor the news you receive (If every article I read concerns increasing gun control, many aggregators begin to push those types of articles to the top, and will tend to bury anything with an opposing view). What effect is this going to have on the public? Do most of the public even know this is happening? I tend to think it makes for a less educated and more polarized public. Do you agree? What are other possible benefits and pitfalls of aggregated news tailoring?

Will having less gate keeping in new media allow for more information to be available to those that are interested in topics in the “long tail” or those with minority views? Or will people with minority views feel intimidated by the avalanche of opposing viewpoints seen in comments sections and feel that they need to conform to the masses or keep their opinions to themselves?

In Free Speech and Anonymity the author states that older forms of reader participation (letters to the editor, etc) were all screened by a gatekeeper, and in some cases edited for grammar and length. Do you think it would ever be possible for online news forums to recreate this gatekeeper function for online comments given the volume of comments generated? And would this increase the value of those news sites?

In What we Need from the Next Journalism the author states some of the values of professional journalism include “independence, verification, a primary allegiance to citizens rather than political faction or corporate interests, and a dedication to consideration of events, rather than a commitment to forcing a specific outcome or policy solution.” How can new media models use new technology to improve on the legacy models of journalism’s ability to meet these goals? The author also states that transparency is the way the organization creates credibility. How can new media use technology to increase their transparency?

Do you agree with the assertion in the Fallows article that Google depends on quality reporting? Is it true that Google will have less to report if “quality” journalism declines?

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