Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Unchain Long Island ...

"The media’s mistake with posting reader comments is in failing to uphold its old standard. Before online postings, there were letters to the editor. The traditional standard held that letter writers were identified and verified. But now that the media has taken a beating for elitism and liberalism and a whole host of other -isms, it wants to appear as if it suddenly cares what the reader has to say. So it’s thrown the standard out the window and wants to “engage the reader in the conversation.”

Reality check: For a conversation to take place, you need to show up for it. Once the media reports what it has to say, it walks away. A look at the online postings shows there’s no conversation between the public and media, or even among the public. It’s a cyber back alley strewn with negativity and needs to be cleaned up.

What should be dominating the public consciousness is what’s wrong with the local media infrastructure that allowed the major contender for ________ seat to bear a name unknown to 80 percent of the populace. Not enough coverage, that’s what wrong. What coverage appeared in Newsday was outweighed by the aforementioned commentary and suffered from probable bias, as reported by the Long Island Press."

Part of the problem on Long Island is that we tend to analyze the different "elements" that comprise Long Island separate and apart from one another. This is not unusual in that all of us have different areas of expertise in which we feel comfortable.

Part of the "One Long Island" series of ideas is way to "bridge" the different disciplines and to find common ground and common elements between them.

We all need to think in a "meta" sort of way. This is not an easy thing to do immediately, it is a skill to be learned and to be taught and passed on until it becomes the "norm."

Any of the "One Long Island" ideas may operate alone or in connection with one or more of the other elements of the concept. True, certain elements of the concept are necessary to do first (such as the "common language") but many of these are easily started because the technology is readily available. It just requires a little organization.

Once you have the framework in place true conversation may occur. And conversation not just based on visceral opinion but on real information and analysis and informed opinion.

The anarchy we see in today's media is most likely caused by the unknown. What is the role of media today and going forward? Where can we get our news unfiltered through the lens of opinion? Can we trust the media?

We've written before of the need for Long Islanders to form "collaborative constituencies" and in essence, inform themselves and their neighbors. The current anonymous postings may be cathartic and sometimes entertaining, but they do not substitute for real dialogue based upon a common "Long Island Philosophy."

The question then becomes, can we handle the truth? Can we work collaboratively? Do we want to be successful or do we enjoy and sometimes profit from the chaos?

I believe out of the current confusion, we will find a way to work collaboratively. I believe that certainly some of what we've proposed in "One Long Island" is essential to the "turnaround."

I know that there are more "intelligent" folks per square inch on Long Island than almost anywhere else on this planet.

Perhaps its time to open up the process and see how intelligent Long Islanders truly are.

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