Open Journalism: Principles and Practices

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Before beginning with this wiki, please take a look at our About Page, so that you can get a feel for the context in which we are building this wiki -- our concerns, the set of conversations in which this one exists, and what questions are orienting us.

A Thank You to the Commons: We would not be in this conversation if we had not been influenced by a multitude of individuals and collectives that have been thinking about questions of journalism, open journalism, language, and the networked public sphere, for much longer than us. We are grateful for the enrichment of the public sphere they have produced (and are continuing to produce) and the chance that we have to be part of these conversations (both technically -- to sit upon a platform built by the Commons for the Commons -- and linguistically -- influenced by the conversation of others in hopes of enriching the conversations of the public sphere in turn).

Journalism's Ethical Quest

The Center for Citizen Media has proposed a conversation around six core values to orient the development of open journalism. These values are part of the tradition of journalism that exists, in Yochai Benkler's distinction, in the Industrial Information Economy.

The style of journalism in the mass media model is one where journalists claim that their role is to be an objective observer of an objective reality bringing objective facts. We find this style to be problematic in that it (latently?) manipulates: "I, as a journalist, will bring you the news. What you need to know is what I will show you."

We believe Open Journalism, which is possible due to emergent networked technologies, has the possibility of a different style with a different philosophical understanding. We know that the world is full of distributed concernful individuals who have different perspectives, backgrounds, concerns, ethical values, etc. The role of the Open Journalist is not to “tell his/her audience what the News is” but to support a dialogue between relevant collectives directly affected by the event and emerging marginal collectives which can bring new perspectives and possibilities to the worlds of citizens.

Finally, we propose that the distinctions of the industrial information model of journalism, such as “truth,” “independence,” “the news,” etc. are misaligned to produce a more philosophically grounded and interesting role for Open Journalists. In opening up a discussion about these distinctions, we are not asking for an “objective truth” about what these distinctions and practices are. We are interested in new distinctions only in so much as they are relevant, valuable, and provocative in better orienting Open Journalists to a new role (which we claim is deeply relevant for the global, networked and fragmented society we live in) and to specific commitments and action for building and shaping that role.

And so we ask the following question to orient us: How should we tweak, adjust, reshape the traditional values of journalism in order to make them relevant for the Open Journalism era -- with a more dynamic, technologically-empowered Common -- that we want to flourish?

About the News

Journalism and Language

Journalism Specialties

More Open Questions

  1. The values we distinguish need to be relevant for a public sphere that is increasingly global, networked, and fragmented. Rearticulating the values to bring more possibilities of communication in environment and more vital commons. (World becoming increasingly more unequal, fragmented, and controlled. Need to counterbalance pattern and the values of the new journalism is a new style for pushing this.)
    1. Being more global brings more diversity and differences. Reality becomes more complex.
    2. networked:
    3. fragmented:
  2. What is citizenship?
  3. What is journalism? A collective that helps people to articulate stories where they can help themselves and others. Journalism isn't just about building stories, or links between events, but about taking care of the linguistic space in order to articulate a world. Also about educating people in their core values. Journalists bring these values to the commons; these values are sacred values and journalists are responsible for expanding them in the world.

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