Openness and Collaboration

“It’s now a cliche of media life that these are both the best of times and the worst of times.”

This is a line from an article featured this week on the Poynter Online titled, “Rusbridger: Openness, Collaboration Key to New Information Ecosystem” which discusses a very clear divide in many working journalists perception of the new age of the journalism the internet has created. This divide is simple: Those who believe that the internet has opened the door to innovation in journalism that simply could not have happened 10, 15, 20 years ago and those who believe that the Internet is slowly strangling the life from formal journalism as we know it and it is time to face the realities of the journalism death dance.

Rusbridger ascribes to the first camp–

“Those in the second camp have a rude word for us: Utopians. They believe we have stars in our eyes and have failed to see what, to them, is blindingly obvious: that the time for playing around has to stop. It’s time for some hard-nosed realities.”

Here’s someone in the second camp

Rusbridger’s article argues that there are two aspects of the new “information ecosystem” that we can’t ignore: Oppenness and Collaboration.

By openness, he means the fact that all information being presented in modern times is becoming part of a larger information collection, “Information may not want to be free, but it does want to be linked.”

Collaboration refers to how to manage (successfully) these linkings that assures that everyone benefits.

In this article, he may be arguing a sort of journalistic Utopia– or at least a more community based journalism–where competition becomes outdated and the only way for everyone to benefit is for everyone to watch each others back. But would that work in our society, which is literally built on ideals of competition. In the future I see some other important things for anyone who wants to make money on the internet, a good lawyer (or good protection) and specialization–information that no else can, or is willing to present to the larger public. This would then fit in with collaboration–bigger entities connect to these more specialized–which is already happening. So maybe it’s kind of like keeping your product in a glass case in a library–it is part of something bigger and everyone can see it, but you have to keep those keys to the case so no one can take the original document. The internet has opened a whole new oppurtunity to theft and lawsuit. I see protection as one of the biggest modern means of the journalism industry.

But openness and collaboration sound good too.


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