Thursday, February 4, 2010

Reparing the Information Infrastructure

There was a fantastic edition of GRIT-tv that aired yesterday and that you can get more information on by clicking here.

In this episode host Laura Flanders spoke with her guests about the ever-changing landscape of the media and how we are at a critical point in the decision about how we will fund the "public good" that is journalism. Panel members include Robert McChesney and John Nichols (co-founders of and authors of The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again), Tracy Van Slyke (co-author of Beyond the Echo Chamber: How a Networked Progressive Media Can Reshape American Politics) and Kate Giammarise (co-founder of

The conversation is really vibrant and focuses on the problems that we are seeing with the quality of journalism since the collapse of the newspapers. Not only is the quality of journalism suffering, but the availability of jobs that compensate (young) journalists for digging into important issues is also a very real concern. Watch the 20 min. segment here:

Naturally this very issue hits close to home as I am one of those who must blog, write, research and interview all in my "spare time" and do so without compensation. I, like many others, am quite passionate about where society is headed and about the kinds of stories that are being covered. I completely agree with John Nichols and Bob McChesney that a strong and independent media is vital to a healthy democracy. After all, this is why I started this blog and contribute to The Cincinnati Beacon. There needs to be a reinvestment in the information infrastructure so that journalism and democracy can flourish in this new digital age.

I think the talk of subsidies are a great place to start as I recognize the need to initiate, develop, and compensate the work that needs to be done. After all (like others), I am but one person and my coverage of issues is limited to the amount of "spare time" that I am able to devote to my work. I can't take my camera to every public event that I would like, I can't devote the amount of time that is needed to do research on some issues that I think are important, and I must choose to spend my personal funds on continuing this work. We are at a very interesting point in time for the media and I think it is quite obvious how necessary it is for this conversation to continue on how to productively move forward. The media is and should continue to be, a public good; we are just in need of a new commitment to the important principles that will allow for a new age of journalism to thrive.

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