Thursday, February 05, 2009

Broadening the Audience for Quality

John Cleese famously advanced the wine world with a how-to DVD a couple of years ago, Wine for the Confused. As we consider the future of journalism school, we might take a page from the vineyard. Educating our consumers to the nuances, the nutty undertones, the need for some sources to breath -- tell me the concept doesn't transfer?

Granted, there is a fine line between elevating the debate and returning to the command role of the editor (we'll decide what is news for you) to the group formerly known as the audience.

Such a lecture (or even short course) serves two goals. The obvious is to bring to the non-journalist, non-news junkie a new skill set to properly assess the web. Sort of a bit of civics to maintain that ever-so-important societal value in a democracy -- an education populace. The second is a bit more evangelical. If we are to trust the people, trust the judgment of the mob, we should take a little time to show them the basics to good journalism.

After all, as the crowd increasingly becomes the source, it would be nice if they had a touch of the 5Ws and H.

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