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News, not news, citizens’ news

This morning I admired a front page article, by Bryan Bender, in the Boston Globe:

…a 12-person office to develop quick strategies for combating homemade bombs in Iraq — has quietly expanded into a $3 billion-per-year arm of the Pentagon, with more than 300 employees and thousands of contract workers, according to Pentagon data analyzed by the Globe.

Also on the front page is an article about people who have gone from PDAs back to pen and paper. The article cites the popularity of two sites that offer templates for notepaper (but we don’t know how many of the readers ever owned a PDA), an increase in popularity of a particular paper little black book (but not for the black book market overall), and the drop in PDA sales, (which the article correctly attributes to the rise in smartphone sales). “Three people start carrying paper notebooks and blog about it: Unknown number of PDA users appreciate cool paper templates” isn’t news; it’s just the Globe’s paper-based nostalgia. Get used to it. Paper is going the way of the legitimate theater.

So, I was wondering this morning how we’re going to keep getting excellent reporting like the first article as newspapers continue their scary economic decline. And along comes Dan Gillmor blogging about News21, a multi-year project involving five universities looking into “the intersection of security and liberty.” One piece is a group blog, US Military Abroad, about the group’s investigation of the shift in our military presence. There are also project blogs about privacy, immigration, and homeland security’s “money trail.”

Is this the future of journalism? I don’t know. But something is.

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4 Responses to “News, not news, citizens’ news”

  1. “Paper is going the way of the legitimate theater.”? I certainly hope not. I have tickets to Spamalot next week! :-)

  2. Ah, but legitimate theater is still with us! That was my point.

    My son and I enjoyed Spamalot. What’s not to like? Have fun.

  3. I agree to Tim!

  4. I agree to Tim!


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