1. Laurel,

    have been listening in from Hobart – it strikes me that a lot of journos are faced with moving from the known to the unknown.
    There was a nature doco from about a dozen years ago that showed how these exquisitely beautiful young birds on long legs had to leave a particular area before the mud solidified and trapped them. It was really sad as you saw the ones that left it too long and were trapped watching their more adventurous siblings flying off into the blue…

  2. Interesting talk. Unfortunately I was too busy working in the news factory upstairs to be able to attend the conference but I’ve been following it online.

    It seems you’re worried about the way (some) journos pigeonhole bloggers. I’m worried you’re guilty of the reverse crime. It’s tiring to tune in to a discussion between the social media and traditional media tribes, only to see it beset by namecalling and misunderstandings about each other’s roles.

    I suspect the adversarial format of these conferences has something to do with it, but I appeal to you to take the higher ground. Please don’t make assumptions about what we do (your comment about benevolent editors being more forgiving of errors than fellow bloggers made me choke on my biscuit). Lets have a discussion.

  3. Interesting thread developing on my facebook account re: this. Heres the start of that..

    Helen Ramoutsaki
    Really like idea of contributing to the Human Narrative, but social media contributions are ephemeral unless archived … (interestingly the modern Greek word for newspaper ‘εφιμεριδα’ comes from the same root as ’emphemeral’: lasting only one day). Libraries, and I assume, publishers archive newspaper content. I know some websites are archived by … Read More
    Yesterday at 1:52pm · Delete

    Gary Hayes
    Great comment Helen – you should drop this onto Laurel’s original post too 🙂 Absolutely agree that capturing this increasing mass of content for posterity will be a key issue moving forward and I suspect libraries will become more and more like traditional editors, deciding on what will be kept on large arrays of optical storage in open viewing … Read More
    Yesterday at 2:11pm · Delete

    Helen Ramoutsaki
    Ahhh … If only (s)he’d had the chance to sit on a veranda rocking his/her micro-chip-off-the-old-block on his/her lap and telling these tales, mingling them with the backups of the ancestors. But that has always been the issue with the inheritance of knowledge/information, from the oral to the digital … do you have a succession plan in place?

    Your vision for libraries is already happening (even to some extent in the remote far north) but a big issue is the time taken for archival material to be transferred/converted to the latest media because obviously you need the appropriate hardware to access the data. I’ve got a couple of 5 1/4 inch floppies but no chance at all of finding out what gems are hidden in the dark caverns of their caches.

    B.t.w: the Celts and the Saxons had a damn fine idea for “embedded battle reporting”. The poet/bard would fight along with everyone else, so they knew what happened in the battle. But no-one was allowed to kill them because they had to go home and compose the epic to commemorate it all. So I’m having a bullet-proof vest printed with “POET” on it …

    H :^)
    p.s: I tried to get a log in to Crickey to pass on comments to Laurel but they haven’t confirmed my membership yet … maybe I haven’t clicked the right spot … sometimes it shows that I’m a digital immigrant!

  4. Laurel, I’m a traditional media content maker (!) and I loved what you said at Media140. What’s to fear? It made me wonder at my own hesitation to tweet and blog – it feels a lot more exposed than broadcasting with the imprimatur of a big media organisation. So bring on the everchanging human narrative and let’s all stop being scared. I for one got into this game because I wanted to hear people’s stories, not because I wanted to control them, even though that’s what inevitably happens when you’re in charge of the process.

  5. It’s ridiculous how evangelical you are in your hatred of traditional media.

    This quote just says it all:

    “It’s not YOUR content. It’s our content. Our stories. We didn’t give you the Human Story, we loaned it to you, and now we’re taking it back.”

    Isn’t the main role of journalists to tell other people’s stories and to bring various views together in a digestible way?

    Social media is an awesome, complementary tool and great for first-hand accounts. We all know that. But we also know that without the mainstream media pulling all those disparate stories, photos, etc together, their audience would be inconsequential.

    1. Asher, unexpected points from a traditional journo but ones that are fundamentally flawed. This is expected from those inside traditional ‘story factories’ and who are indoctrinated by inherited media practise (I know I have been inside and out at regular intervals – often for my own sanity).

      Firstly traditional (closed, mass produced, one way) commercial media requires one thing to happen – a stable or growing readership to maintain larger numbers of eyeballs to deliver to advertisers, who pay the ‘editorial’ teams and keep ‘real’ journalists in a job. Simple and we all know this.

      What does a ‘real’ journalist need to do therefore to bring in those eyeballs? Tell a broad and balanced filtered cross section of ‘the human story’? Or- try to draw readers in with sensationalised, politically motivated (aka dysfunctional), negative bias, out there on-the-edge weirdness or just plain sad (family murders, mass death, corruption). We just need to look at the evening TV news or tabloids and see 9 of the 10 stories about murder, rape, political back stabbing and so on. Is THAT the human story? Is that all humanity has come to represent. That was Laurel’s point re: traditional media are now no longer faithfully recording and distributing our lives in a meaningful and relevant way (and have they ever?) Most editorial we see today is frankly no different from the endless cop shows or death/corruption/intrigue paraded across commercial FTA TV in Australia. Of course we need to know that a father killed his wife and kid and dumped their bodies in graphic detail or a corrupt banker ripped off a pension fund and ran away with a model BUT what about the million acts of kindness or positive messages? I know feelgood is for the outré, they don’t peak our fascination with what is wrong with the world. But part of humanity evolving is to reduce our reliance on ‘fear’ based editorial – there are more ‘positive’ messages seeping across social media now, OK there is still the crap & negativity, but shining out finally is meaningful humanity which in democratised and disintermediated distribution CAN now be represented.

      To finish perhaps you should look at your own ‘representation’ of what the human ‘tech’ story is? A small selection from the past weeks below – is that a balanced reflection of what is happening or should I seek out for me relevance across a hundred RSS feeds I am subscribed to from those actually ‘doing it? Big changes happening Asher, an upheaval of the way ‘news / human story’ is propagated and the ones most resistant and unlikely to ‘recognise’ or talk about those changes? Traditional journalists, with mortgages, kids to feed, salaries to keep.

      Ashers representation of the human ‘tech’ story:
      1 Outrage, Leaked footage of Call of Duty game
      2 Hacking hotmail really easy
      3 Telstra damaged by Conroy blunder
      4 Don’t Twitter, studio tells stars
      5 MySpace tanks
      6 Spiritual retreat accident, deleting incriminating tweets
      7 Hacker cracks iTunes DRM
      8 ABC Gender bias Good Game presenter
      9 Mummy bloggers scorn Nestle
      10 Aussie inventor losses his patent
      11 Geeks make $4k a day selling penis pills
      12 Google maps plastered with ads
      and so on – of course ‘death of second life’ and so on a regular…

      and how did I find these Asher stories in 2 minutes? Blanket coverage on your twitter feed, nearly every tweet links back to SMH article (nice to see comments, but couldn’t find any from you responding ?) I need to look harder. You obviously have a deep understanding of what social media is all about.

      1. Gary, that’s precisely the kind of overly-defensive and overly-emotional personal attack that makes this whole discussion so confrontational and, quite frankly, tedious. All heat and no light.

        Asher’s made a fair point and asked a fair question about the role of journalism. How is that changing?

        After all, Laurel’s mainfesto is fightin’ words. It says, in essence, bugger off we don’t need you journalists any more. It’s a shame her speech was scheduled at the end of the day when there was no time for the discussion it was obviously intended to trigger.

        Sure, some journalists have a sense of entitlement that needs to be challenged. But some folks in the social media field also, sometimes, say things that reek of assumed superiority, “We know better than you” — guaranteed to get people offside! — and that somehow all our informational needs will now be solved by a sprinkling of magick social media fairy dust. Bollocks.

        There’s no doubt that the world is changing and that the nature of journalism, of journalists’ jobs and the media factories will change forever. Dramatically. Perhaps in uncomfortable and chaotic ways. It’s likely that many existing jobs will go, to be replaced by new and perhaps very different jobs. Perhaps those jobs won’t be caled “journalist” — though I suspect they will.

        I reckon it’d be great if the people with media skills and insight — no matter where gained — worked towards an understanding of this future and built new stuff. Just slagging each other off, especially with sarcastic rants starting “Perhaps you should…”, is ugly and unhelpful.

        I don’t know that you have to blip up and post a response every time someone challenges what Laurel says. Her arguments will live (or die) on their merits, and Laurel’s more than capable of debating them herself. You may not realise, but some folks are starting to chuckle at how predictable these blip-ups have become. I’m all for people supporting their partner, but… professional distance n’all.

        And, Gary, you’re criticising Asher because he used Twitter to make it easy to find his news stories? Huh? Or is this just another “I know better than you how Twitter should be used?”

        1. Thanks Stil for the comment. Mis-quoting and mis-interpretation aside. Last thing first. My point about Asher using Twitter was that 99% of his tweets are him linking to his ‘own’ stories – broadcast mode, vs conversation. You misunderstood.

          “Asher’s made a fair point and asked a fair question about the role of journalism.” really, fair, unemotional? – he started his comment with “It’s ridiculous how evangelical you are in your hatred of traditional media.” – umm, fair and balanced journalism at work?

          Its a shame you saw my response as a rant and missed the key point – namely commercially driven news is distorted news – often with a sensationalist negative bias to attract viewership. My own background working inside the BBC leading major projects many with News and World Service for 8 years and later with commercial radio & TV news in the states have given me a certain perspective – and I have a right to comment not only in Laurel’s defence but as qualified as any one else in the debate – but, I think a discussion that is more about my delivery than the content is the wrong place to take the ‘actual’ debate further.

          But just to qualify further one of the project teams I was on with BBC News was the editorial workflow and smart production – integrating digital text, online, print and TV news into one cohesive story machine. I was hoping for discussions around that at media140, the future of journalism, but it turned into a ‘the first time I tried Twitter’ chat? And Stil don’t tell me you found the conference forward looking? Sure it brought people together, but there needs to be a much less polarised atmosphere if the industry is going to be prepared.

          Glad I can bring a chuckle to some people in the various Sydney echo chambers who find my contributions predictable. I often chuckle at much of the ‘small pond’, ‘small fish’ behaviour that exists in certain factions of Sydney media (social & traditional) too, but mostly it’s a sadness at how great it could be vs how insular, protective and inward looking it is. [Qualify: generally, yes there are great people and not so great people – obviously, der – lets hedge our bets heh? ]

          Finally, yes we all know big changes are happening I have been presenting, writing and lecturing about them for 20 years. Using a simple analogy. The media of any region has a personality, like any individual, driven by its ‘neural’ networks. For an individual to truly change and rewire their brain they have to go into a kind of nervous breakdown, permanently rewiring those connections – I don’t see that greater change happening here, or even a desire for it to, as I see it in the US and parts of Europe. Australian media could lead the way, it is fleet of foot with very small numbers in the industry who could positively get together to create globally respected initiatives, truly integrating traditional high quality production values with the passion and connectedness of social media. Those who perpetuate the divide are delaying the beauty in this breakdown which precedes any positive change.

        2. Actually, Gary, “discussion that is more about [your] delivery than the content” is precisely why I posted my comment to begin with. Maybe I need to get straight to the point. The aggression is off-putting. It distracts me from your “content”. It makes the conversation unpleasant. It detracts from my opinion of you.

          Your most recent comment baffles me — not because I don’t understand the words or the concepts, but because I’m having trouble finding the focus. We seem to have gone way beyond Laurel’s presentation or Asher’s points about evangelism and the role of journalists — even beyond slagging him off for how he chooses to use Twitter.

          For what it’s worth, I reckon Asher can use Twitter any way he likes. It’s not up to you or me to tell him how it “should” be used, and especially not in such a sarcastically patronising way.

          Now we’re into a spray about “factions” and how behind and insular Australia is and some generalised point about Media140 not being “forward looking” and only the gods know what else.

          It certainly doesn’t encourage me to take part in the dialog. Or is that the aim? To make it so unpleasant for anyone who’s critical that they just don’t bother any more?

          Personally, I think that jumping to Laurel’s defence every time someone says something critical — especially with such a disjointed scatter of ideas — actually detracts from her credibility. And yours.

          1. Sorry Stil – end of discussion. You are now being very insulting and attention is needed on something much more constructive. Good luck and Good Bye.

  6. Maybe bloggers need sub editors. Premier Rann of HicksAdelaidia South Australia, not Wran.

    Other than that, very interesting discussion. My thoughts are that it is all the different voices complement each other. We can chose to tune in to whoever we like. There is way too much stuff for us to digest it all.

  7. Premier Rann

    Interesting discussion. I think we all have our role to play. People have so many choices and can effectively filter out what they want to read, listen to from different “trusted” sources.

  8. Fantastic news for Australia – No current Labor Party ETS, and Tony Abbott leading the opposition. Great that Tony Abbott is new Liberal Leader – he will certainly take it up to Mr Dudd.

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