Monday, May 12, 2008

If you build it ... Part One

But, he said, while the deal will "please" shareholders, "unfortunately for the consumer, both editorially and financially, it is never a good idea to let one media conglomerate control pricing and editorial content."

OK so I don't pretend to be a media expert.

But it strikes me as a lot of doom and gloom that only "one player" will control the news and editorial content for all of Long Island.

Sure Newsday and Cablevision have great brand ID and a lot of smart folks working for them.

Why don't I worry?

Because it is very easy to create a competitor network (or collaborative networks) constructed out of the many content sources we have here on Long Island.

What news do people really want? My experience is first they want the news that most effects their immediate daily life. "Hyperlocalism" is a buzz word often used to describe the web based confluence of news, information, video etc, focused on a "finite" location or area of interest. Do folks in Sayville care about what's happening in Bayville? Maybe a little, but not a lot.

Next maybe they are interested in a regional perspective and so forth almost like expanding waves of knowledge gathering.

Most national and international news, sports, entertainment news etc is provided from a wide array of organizations and sources predominately through XML (extensible markup language) or some similar protocol which updates news almost as it happens. Most of this information is free to use for non-profit enterprises and for a nominal fee for profit oriented enterprises.

Next opinion. Look everybody has an opinion. Hopefully its an informed opinion. There are tons of blogs, podcasts, video what have you out there giving opinions on almost anything you can think of. What if, for example, you set up a rotating multiple xml feed of ten food critics? Wouldn't that be better than one? Wouldn't that give the public a better view of what's out there?

In fact, why should we be limited by any one group's point of view or control over the distribution of content?

How about (as we've explored previously) a rotating editorial board made up of regular citizens and members of various organizations of let's say 20 at a time, rotating through every 60 days on staggered shifts? It can actually be a "virtual" editorial board able to meet on a moments notice. Wouldn't this ensure that all voices are heard and that there is a true diversity of opinion made available? Why should only a few folks have all the fun!

Additionally, there is the issue of trust. Does the general public (or anyone for that matter) trust that the information they are getting is accurate and presented fairly?

My belief is that the more power (information is power) in the greater number of hands the greater the likelihood is that we will have an equal playing field for the debate of ideas that will shape our future.

Toward this end we have a number of "One Long Island" projects underway and in the planning stages that would make the creation of this "Long Island independent information and news" project a reality.

Would it replace existing news institutions? No. There would be no purpose in that as the existing institutions provide an important service and one that many folks depend upon.

But there is room for improvement and real diversity of news, opinion and thought on Long Island.

It is possible to create a reliable collaborative Long Island news and information network that is, among other things, accessible, flexible and accurate.

More in Part Two.

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