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I promised in my first post to comment on how this all stands to change. As always, I was overly ambitious and didn’t have enough time to complete the loop, but here’s the short version: Back before the Internet, Blackberries and all the other marvels of modern technology, we had radio news, papers, and TV news. So few sources for news, and the mission was to distill it into something informative that people could digest.
It’s taken a while for journalism to embrace the possibilities of the Internet, but what it’s done is given any intrepid citizen tools to make calls themselves. You can rely on a reporter and their sources to tell you what’s in a development agreement – which is usually the efficient choice – or you can click through on the link from a story and wade through the agreement yourself.
In any story on a lawsuit, being able to see the complaint in a PDF is endlessly more valuable than just reading the story.
The Internet has freed us from the time and space constraints that I’m arguing force us to frame stories in the hero-villain/David vs. Goliath/Noah’s Ark/prodigal son/name-your-favorite-myth story arc. If the purveyors of information can show up to a council hearing, say, and immediately post a “who, what, when” blurb to a news site, they’ve met the speed imperative of news. Then they can chew, analyze, consider before doing the more in-depth piece, which needn’t be limited to the space between ads, and which can have supporting documentation along with it.
And then, you can have instant feedback on that analysis from thousands of people.
This is so much more profound than I think most people realize right now. Think of how 10 years of doing things this way could alter the way we vet issues as a public.
And according to the hundreds of times his actual quote was misreported (thus making it true), we have Al Gore to thank for all of it.