Reporting from the social media exchange: what is news?

I am spending today at the fantastic social media exchange. One of the highlights for me has been Nick Booth's session on the future of news. Nick was part of the excellent ICT Foresight panel, put together when I was writing the series of ICT Foresight reports.

Here’s a question for you, posed by Nick at his session: What is news?

10 years ago that would have been an easy question to answer. News was created when someone made a decision to put something on the radio or in a newspaper. But today that question is harder to answer, or at least there are many answers, each valid. How did you answer that question? Some of the answers from those in the session included:

“Something that is new, that will interest the public". But then who do we mean by the public these days when content can reach the most niche of groups?

“Something that happens to somebody – when you tell someone else it’s news”

“News is events based information, but whether its news or not depends on whether you know about it and whether you care about it”

What’s changed is that news can now be all of these things. Why? Because the web has removed barriers to publishing (some say media has been ‘democratised’) meaning that we now live in a world where everyone can use media to tell stories. New media allows people to report as it happens, taking news out of the hands of traditional news makers.

What does this mean for voluntary and community organisations? Here are two thoughts.

  1. It means changing how we work to get our stories on the news agenda: the old gatekeepers are being removed and it is now the public that often determines what is newsworthy or worth reading.
  2. It means rethinking how we influence public debate and who it is who should be telling stories: organisations don’t need to do all the talking anymore; it is just as easy to let users talk for themselves (and people are increasingly interested in listening to stories ‘from the horses’ mouth)

More later from the social media exchange!

Last updated at 16:06 Mon 10/Aug/09.
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Caroline's picture


Third Sector Foresight

I came across this post earlier discussing the rise of real time news. Real time reporting can be gripping; how many of us sat open mouthed and horrified as we watched the second plane collide with the twin towers, or people jumping from the windows on 9/11? But while it brings us instantly up to date, the sheer volume of information can be overwhelming and may actually stop us from processing any of it in any depth. With information overload being a well voiced issue at the moment (even making it into adverts for microsoft's search engine bing), how can we control the information we receive and make the most of this progress in reporting? This article examines different ways to make the news we receive manageable and relevant; using these tools lets you cut out the white noise of too much irrelevant information and actually find the facts that mean the most to you.

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How will this affect your organisation? Have you considered it during your strategic planning? Can you share any interesting relevant links?

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