New News Media - A New Day is Dawning

At the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills on Tuesday there was a discussion on the media's role in democracy. Taking part was former Vice President Al Gore, Fox News chief Roger Ailes, US News and World Report publisher Mortimer Zuckerman and Jeff Greenfield of CNN.

Normally, soirees such as this would be of little interest. However, in this case some news was made.

It would seem that bloggers, or citizen journalists, as I like to call them, have taken a major step towards mainstream legitimacy. This at least in the eyes of some of the panel discussion participants.

Roger Ailes and Mortimer Zuckerman endorsed the integrity of many bloggers.

This may signal the growing glimmer of realization in the mainstream media that the citizen journalist is here to stay and is slowly but surely becoming a force to be with reckoned with. Despite the manifest success of organizations such as Blogs for Bush and others over the course of the last election cycle some media grandees still refer to the citizen journalist as someone "sitting around in his/her pajamas at the computer" or some such condescending drivel. While blogging certainly has its share of sluggards and extremists both right and left, on the whole the citizen journalists are earnest, thoughtful and committed in their pursuit. The media "titans" ignore this reality at their peril.

While I certainly do not think that newspapers are going to disappear, the tactile sensation of holding the news in one's hand is still exceedingly appealing, I do think that major media conglomerates may eventually fall by the wayside. Eclipsed, if you will, by mobile, adaptable and more readily scalable, in relation to actual needs and circumstances, information/news gathering/disseminating sources.

Additionally, the notion of educating journalists as currently practiced by journalism schools may be due for a total rethink. Perhaps, the question should be asked if one can actually study journalism or even if such a course of study is necessary or desirable. After all, if Peter Jennings and acclaimed war photographer Don McCullin, among others, can practice the craft of journalism without even a college degree, what does that say about the worth of a journalism degree in general. It is indeed unfortunate that in the United States, indeed the world over, we seem to be turning out individuals with tremendous credentials but precious little actual education.

It would appear that we are on the cusp of momentous changes in the field of journalistic endeavour. The citizen journalist is poised to take center stage and change the world of news media and journalism forever.

Vive la journaliste de citoyen!