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My co-panelists at Princeton Future of News workshop call for a new, humbler journalism 5/14/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in FutureOfNews, futureofnews08.
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Rather than review my remarks at today’s Future of News workshop at Princeton, I’ll refer you to my presentation slides and the excellent summary by the remarkable Kevin Anderson of the Guardian. I was intrigued by the presentations of my co-panelists Dan Gillmor and The Atlantic’s Reihan Salam, which I thought had an interesting overlap in calling for a kinder, gentler, more humble journalism.

Dan Gillmor feels that our debates about what is journalism and who is a journalist have now drifted into futility. News is no longer a lecture, but a conversation. The content providers are no longer oracles, but guides. The work of others, as represented by hyperlinks, is “God’s gift to getting it right,” recognizing that news gatherers are not and have never been infallible deliverers of verified truths. Reihan Salam spoke of the need for journalists to engage with their audiences at their level as fellow members of news communities. He paid homage to Eric Alterman, who was in attendance and served on a later panel, for taking the attitude of his audience and not his professional class from a high level of sophistication. Humility is an important and necessary step as journalists change their perceptions of their readers. Once referred to as “citizens,” readers have now been elevated to a position demanding even greater respect — “customers.”

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