What’s Old is Nude Again

In Social Media Crisis Management By This Fluid World, Jonathan MacDonald reviews his own reporting of a real-life incident in the London Underground — and what happened next, as the ripples spread. Good stuff. In the midst of his talk (slides are presented in the post) he cites my own small contribution.

Interesting how normative practices continue to improve even as variants emerge, and even as supporting technology changes, along with users and uses. For example, reporting is still reporting, whether you’re doing it by blogging or tweeting or texting or phoning or … whatever the next thing is (or things are). The basic principles are the same. There are just more, and better, means, more people in a position to use them, and more discovery and improvement in the processes. (Of course, there are more bad behaviors, but those yield learnings too.)

Some of us are old enough to remember “New Journalism“, back in the 1960s. The lenghthy retrospective at that last link is fairly academic, but what was “new” back then boiled down simply to getting real. Tom Wolfe, writing back then and in the present tense: “And all the while, quite beyond matters of technique, it enjoys an advantage so obvious, so built-in, one almost forgets what power it has’: the simple fact that the reader knows all this actually happened. The disclaimers have been erased. The screen is gone. The writer is one step closer to the absolute involvement of the reader that Henry James and James Joyce dreamed of but never achieved.”

The newest journalism is practiced in a reality that allows anybody to participate, anywhere, anytime — all together improving the old with the new. Reminds me that journalism is NEA, just like free code: Nobody owns it, Everybody can use it and Anybody can improve it.

For those who think Journalism (with a capital J) is still owned by the Old Schools, stories like Jonathan’s are a reboot in the pants.

4 comments

  1. Craig Klein’s avatar

    No concern that now that anybody can be a journalist from anywhere via any means that the ethic of checking the facts and verifying sources, etc. has apparently gone bye-bye?

    Or was that a myth in the first place?

    Please don’t tell us that I can discern quality by measuring popularity…

  2. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Sure, there’s plenty of concern.

    As I said, the basic principles remain the same. Link here: http://mediactive.com/principles/

    And I would never say popularity is a measure of quality. Why would you think I might?

  3. c michelle’s avatar

    I’m surprised that this kind of reporting is considered ‘good stuff’. It aspires to the public humiliation of individuals as a method of behavioral control. Watch out, your every move is being watched by a judge and jury of thousands–totally divorced from the context of that employee’s life, work history, work protocols, just the situational evidence of his awful, rude and insulting outburst. I can’t imagine what will come of this situation, but an escalation of fear of social interaction, likely increased medicalization of behaviours deemed socially unacceptable by the faceless masses, etc. Why not just stone the guy on the spot? No, no, easier to just escalate the frenzy electronically, no need to take personal responsibility for one’s condemnation.

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