Alex Steffen of WorldChanging posts an interview with Ethan Zuckerman of GlobalVoices and the Berkman Center, who has now become president of the Board of Directors of the non-profit behind Worldchanging. (The interview seems to be a year old. Still hugely relevant, though.)
Here’s Ethan’s basic challenge:
…issues which fall outside of the immediate experience and concern of the people blogging in some ways actually seem to be harder to talk about in the blogosphere than in mainstream media.
You’ve actually just identified the essential problem of free market journalism. In free market journalism you’re allowed to print whatever stories your audience wants to read. And because you know your audience is more interested in Michael Jackson than Jesse Jackson, you’re going to run fewer stories on policy and more on the abuse of boys on Neverland Ranch. Unless you get some extremely strong current of countervailing opinion, your coverage tends to fall towards the lowest common denominator. That’s why the international news hole in domestic television coverage has shrunk to almost nothing in recent years. The assumption is that no one’s interested.
That’s why a blogging community that pays attention to the rest of the world is so important. If bloggers talk about what’s happening in Africa, say, that not only means that more people have access to information about what’s going on there, it also means that there’s a countervailing force which shows the editors at the New York Times that people are interested enough in these issues to read about them.
For the “What can I do about it part?,” plus much much more, read the rest of the interview.
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