Alan Webber and Michael Wolff at We Media. ‘Journalism is not a public service, not a public good,’ Wolff said. ‘Journalism is not social work.’ Photo by Chelsea Matiash
By Steve Klein
and Suzanne McBride
Almost nothing may have been invented yet, We Media founders Dale Peskin and Andrew Nachison like to say.
But that doesn’t mean that a lot of people aren’t trying.
On Wednesday, the first full day of the 2010 We Media Conference at the University of Miami, “Game Changers” like Byron Reece, chief innovation officer of Demand Media, were celebrated and challenged to help define the approach of the Digital Renaissance.
“The Internet is becoming increasingly self corrective with the ability to determine between right and wrong, what’s good and bad,” said Reece. “Nobody saw the Internet coming. When new technologies come out, the only frame of reference people have are the technologies they are replacing.
“People are willing to help people on the Internet and get nothing in return.”
The anonymous — and not so anonymous — community of the Internet was a feature of the first of the two-day conference, which included a discussion on the changing face of news with Tom Curley, CEO of the Associated Press, and Alberto Ibarguen, CEO of the Knight Foundation, moderated by John Hockenberry, host of “The Takeaway.”
A pair of morning sessions, however, provided a sharp contrast between Newser founder Michael Wolff and Tom Stites, founder of the Banyan Project, which emphasizes relational journalism to strengthen democracy.
“Journalism needs to serve a huge, ill-served public and encourage deeper civic engagement,” said Stites. “This journalism would be more relevant to the public it serves to make sounder life decisions.
“We need to stretch boundaries and enlarge the discourse. The future of journalism discourse is what is important. What are the problems that democracy demands we pursue?”
Wolff’s approach is not as grand, however.
“Journalism is not a public service, not a public good. Journalism is not social work,” said Wolff, emphasizing the community theme. “When it’s healthiest, it’s about having a relationship with your readers. You’re trying to find what people want. That sends you in directions that are both profane and ridiculous. Leer más “Relevence, relationships and the ridiculous dominate opening day of We Media ‘10”