moving closer or further from the truth…

Posted on March 5, 2012

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Susan Greenberg’s article “WHEN THE EDITOR DISAPPEARS, DOES EDITING DISAPPEAR?” examines the combining traditional and new media: User Generated Content AND traditional media.

This article uses the example of BBC to show the combination of traditional print-like media and User Generated Content. I think that op-ed journalists are really using this technique the most since their personal branding and self promotion are very important in drawing readership than the publication they write for.

My favorite example of this is op-ed columnist for the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof. I follow him on Facebook where his constant posts keep him showing up on my feed. He uses social media to direct readers to his op-ed columns, his blog but he also uses it as a way to engage readers and learn what they are interested in.  By bringing together a community of people who share his interests and already have read his columns, the traditional need of an editor to assign articles or causes to a particular journalist is no longer necessary for someone like Kristof: he simply asks his readers what they want to know more about.

For example, he did an interview with Lady Gaga and published it in an article February 29th. In response to comments of readers on this article, he posted the following on his Facebook March 1st:

In your FB comments on my Lady Gaga interview, I was moved by how many of you talked about having been bullied yourselves as kids. But it made me wonder how many of us were bullies, and if we remember why. Anybody want to volunteer a story of being a teenage meanie, and if so why you were, or what would have stopped you? In your FB comments on my Lady Gaga interview, I was moved by how many of you talked about having been bullied yourselves as kids. But it made me wonder how many of us were bullies, and if we remember why. Anybody want to volunteer a story of being a teenage meanie, and if so why you were, or what would have stopped you?

Kristof presents an important skill of using social media as an editing tool: feedback goes both ways. I love how he engages readers in dialogue and, at least he projects the idea that he thoughtfully reads comments and questions. He often posts articles about people he will interview or places he will go and asks for feedback on questions to ask and issues to cover.

This quote included in the Greenberg’s article from Chartier exemplifies this idea of the reader playing an active role in the creation of text:

The reader in the electronic age can construct collections of original texts whose existence and organisation depend on the reader alone. But more important, one can intervene in those texts at any moment, modifying them, rewriting them, making them one’s own. (1995: 20–1)

But my question is, what sort of reality are we creating if we have the ability and will of media to tell us exactly what we want to hear? I wonder if we are moving closer or further from the truth…

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Posted in: Readings