Friday, June 12, 2009

Next Gen News

Taking in a little vintage TWIT, and the comment of a rising generation member:

"I like to triangulate my news"

The next generation of students, along with having all the answers at their fingertips courtesy of Wikipedia and Google, has not necessarily learned how to learn -- ah, there's some educantese. Instead, they've become a generation of sponges, eager to soak up whatever information exists.

This is the "True Enough" generation, hard-coded to accept the plug-ins of information, particularly information that validates their world views.

Quoting generationally, if the News is so important, it will find me. It will be on Facebook, or on Twitter, or on a RSS feed; that will prompt the interested user to move forward to a newspaper.

Problem. What if the "newspaper," the fixed truth based media, has been replaced through economics by agenda driven media, sponsored media or branded media? Let's be clear, this is not an indictment toward network, or new, media; nor of bloggers and citizen media in general.

Let's define these new fields. Agenda driven media comes in many forms from political to special interests. It's also not new -- back in the 1800s the newspapers all came in local flavors sponsored by and suited to the respective political parties. The commentary that was carried as news was vicious and personal. Everything old is new again.

The sponsored media is different. Consider the magazines and websites that find their funding from George Soros or Heritage Foundation. They harken back to the midevil patrons of the arts.

Branded media is not terribly different, but are funded by and represent a specific organization. The NFL Network, for example. To be honest, There's also items like MommyCast, podcasts brought to market by single sponsors.

The funding does not cast automatic aspersion on the reporters -- for heaven's sake, many can argue for the undo influence of Chamber of Commerce advertising in legacy media -- but it can raise questions.

Back to the original point -- once alerted to the need to delve into the news by a social trigger, what if the "news" amplifies a particular angle. How far from the federalist horror of the masses becoming self-aware? Forget SkyNet, this is a path thru humans from mass media to the Spanish Inquisition and Maoist purges. Remember, the herd was in agreement that the minority was the problem.

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