Network News Must Die: Class Recap

Spirited class conversation last night (see below the fold for some great Minute Papers from students). We covered the importance of coming up with the right research “problem” — and what an important skill that is outside of academia.

And we discussed Clay Shirky’s notion (in “Here Comes Everybody”) that “A professional exists to solve a hard problem, one that requires some sort of specialization” — this because of a scarce resource that requires management.

In the days of mass media, that scarce resource was capital for content gathering and distribution (printing presses, cameras, satellites). Now, with a collapse in communication costs, the professionals (the journalists), have lost control. Thank goodness…

Case in point: Wednesday night’s inane ABC News Democratic candidate debate. Twenty thousand comments and counting on ABC News’ site, mainly from viewers outraged by the focus on “non-issues.” Jon Stewart pillories the anchors for their nonsense. And the rest of wonder when was the last time we actually watched any kind of network news.

But with the death of the professional journalism class arises the concern about how to filter all this “noise.” Check out this interesting blog post, The Noise in Web 2.0 is Primarily a Tech Elite Problem.


* small discussion group very exciting.

* Really a dynamic and cheerful meeting tonight, especially the group discussion.

* the opportunity to network with really bright people is one of the greatest benefits of this program.
* Tonight, most groups chose the same topic for our discussion. Why? Because we are all in the MCDM program, and we have a relationship with the topic at hand. Personal relevancy is what brings people together in social media.


* why are we so judgmental about what and how we write?

* I totally agree with the statement that the more we write online, the worse we write. I can’t remember when was the last time I wrote a serious article in Chinese. In Chinese, the format of writing for fun, and “for serious” are very different.


* how much energy should we spend learning software or tech that might be essential one day, and irrelevant the next?

* I would hate to see the suppression of social media. However I do worry about the digital divide. A Pew report found that nearly half of journalists believe that network nightly news will disappear within a decade. What kind of impact will such a sudden loss of mainstream journalism have on those who aren’t “connected” like we are?

* I like the idea that perhaps the next “profession” is maintaining platforms for users (like Flickr, Wetpaint, etc.), just as publishers/printer press were/are for writers.

* While corporate America tries to figure out how to leverage social media for profit, we’ll all continue to use it for the same reason it has created a revolution — our return to community. We lost it somewhere during the 60’s and 70’s, buried it in work during the 80’s and 90’s.

* The only thing that is scarce is a Good Idea. Ideas, compelling ones, are the commodity in the new world of social media.

* I really want to share new stories and links with everyone in the program. But it already seems like Flipthemedia is already a little cluttered, and probably isn’t the place for it. Would it be too much to ask people to join a social bookmarking site? Or a section on the blog devoted to discussing news stories? (I have about 6-8 stories a week that I want to talk about. That seems like too much for regular blog posts).

* Our MCDM Flip the Media blog needs to have a page dedicated to new students (sign up for mailing lists, chat room, request for info from current students, events). Make a page for international students for their thoughts.

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