From September 2005 to June 2006 a team of thirteen scholars at the The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication explored how new and maturing networking technologies are transforming the way in which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.

This site documents the process and the results.

The priesthood is not dissolving

In "bloggers to have less rights than journalists?", Kazys Varnelis writes:

bq. "The 2005 Free Flow of Information Act is designed to protect journalists from having to reveal the names of their anonymous sources except under specific conditions. On Monday, however, the bill's co-sponsor, US Senator Richard Lugar—who said he was inspired to write the legislation by columnist Judith Miller's recent imprisonment for not revealing her source to a court—suggested that bloggers would not be considered journalists under this law."

The comment by Luger was actually a question, according to Seth Finkelstein responding to Dan Gillmor. The full quote reads:

bq. "As to who is a reporter, this will be a subject of debate as this bill goes farther along (...) Are bloggers journalists? Or some of the commercial businesses that you here would probably not consider real journalists? Probably not, but how do you determine who will be included in this bill?"

kausfiles also weighs in on the journalist vs. blogger protection.

Is anyone surprised, though, that journalists would be granted priviledges and protections that bloggers are not? Journalists and the political elite have a pretty good thing going. Just look at the ubiquitous unchallenging coverage of Iraq, if you need an example, or Bush's virtual visit to Tikrit yesterday, which was uncritically covered by most major US news media.

Gillmor says

bq. "In a world where anyone can be a journalist, we can't let government or Big Media decide who has the right to inform the public about matters of interest or urgency. The priesthood should be dissolving, not gaining strength -- yet rulings and legislation like these move things in precisely the wrong direction."

This echoed his talk at USC's Annenberg School for Communicaton on Monday in which he painted a very hopeful future of what we calls "We Media" (outlined in his downloadable book We the Media). But Gillmor never really addresses why the preisthood would be allowed to disolve, or on the other hand, how journalists would maintain their authority if or when "We" have a direct hand in deciding what is news (and what is truth). Isn't that what they sell?

Are they, or the owners of the institutions they work for, eager to give that up?

Marc Deuze writes about how interactivity undermines the 'we write, you read' dogma of modern journalism, as well as certain core values and ideals along the way in First Monday and New Media & Society.

And, of course, the internet is not just threatening the authority of journalists. In his Chicago Tribune column today, Steve Johnson writes about a University of Chicago assistant professor of political science who *might* have been denied tenure because he is a blogger. Here are some highlights:

bq. "Web lore abounds with tales of people being fired for blogging about their jobs, but it seems to be an especially touchy issue in the academy, bound by both tradition and a tendency to discredit work done in the public sphere.

bq. The concern, as elucidated by Drezner on his blog and in an August Tribune article on the dangers of blogging, is that maintaining a Web log will be seen as a diversion from the real scholarship an academic ought to be doing.

bq. It could also be viewed, a widely discussed opinion piece published in the Chronicle of Higher Education argued, as a sign that this person, once tenured, is likely to tell tales out of school. And it could allow one's other work to be interpreted, in light of the blog, as glib or frivolous.

bq. One of the ways in which blogs potentially upset the academic apple cart is they're a way for junior people to get a voice that bypasses senior-level gatekeepers," Drezner said. "I don't think that is necessarily my situation."

Submitted by arussell on October 14, 2005 - 3:35pm