"Journalism and the New Media Media Ecology: Who Will Pay the Messengers?"
What follows is an honest attempt to document a two-day conference at Yale Law School, "Journalism and the New Media Ecology: Who Will Pay the Messenger?" The reporter is Bill Densmore of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism.] As with a similar in-the-moment report from a gathering at Harvard University two weeks ago, I make no warranty about the accuracy of direct quotes -- captured on the fly -- but make a promise to have supplied appropriate context as best as possible. The sessions are being videotaped. Consult that source for the final history of this event.
The new news ecology -- who will create information useful to citizens?
Dean Robert Post of the Yale Law School opens with thoughts about the new news ecology and he asks, in effect, who will create information useful to citizens in a democracy? He thinks the law and media program of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Scripps League fund have helped with funding for this two-day gathering. There appear to be roughly 120 people in the auditorium here at Yale Law School in New Haven, Conn.
"We have a much more serious problem confronting us, we have a collapse of the business structures" of journalism," says Post. "We have to understand the values that we want to use to reconstruct the ecology of media in the next couple of decades . . . this is a topic that is close to my heart." He asks: Whatare the values that we should be seeding in the new media ecology? He says the key answer is "democratic self governance . . . what does it mean in a homogeneous country is necessary to govern ourselves."
Other points Post makes:
- Citizens in a democracy need access to common information -- that provision is compatible with many forms of media. "But in a democracy it is not really (just) information that needs to circulate .... it has to not really be circulated, it has to be created and the creation of information for us becomes a very serious problem in a democracy."
- What about the journalist as expert? "If you just circulate information you have a problem of assimilating which information is important." Too much information, he notes, is meaningless.