Tuesday, May 13, 2008

If you build it ... Part Two

So much of the news and information we receive is "bundled" and delivered from multiple sources.

Those of us who use RSS/XML readers on a regular basis know that there is a universe of information out there to be delivered in virtual real time for those willing to do a little exploration.

So if we were constructing a Long Island news and information "portal" or a series of collaborative "portals" what would we need to do?

First of all, let's be clear. The news and information is already generated by us. We may pay others for a service to distribute it and analyze it, but we are the news and information. 

This is not to diminish what media folks do or a particular expertise they may bring to a particular subject, but without us they're out of business. Much as we elect representatives from the various forms of government to work for our common interests and confer that privilege upon them, so too do we confer the same privilege upon the media.

Much of what we've discussed over the past year or so (even back to 1993 for that matter) is directly applicable to this particular product. In fact we've explored this theme with the Citizen Media and Citizen Alert posts (among many others) some time ago. I tend to see most of this as inter-related.

A good portion of information is free and one can very easily create a robust information portal and in fact can create a portal that the end user (us) can customize to their own particular viewing preferences. 

Moreover we can integrate LYDIA technology (as we are in a number of One Long Island projects already) to create a powerful news and information analysis tool.

The individual will be able to discern what is accurate and factual. How about that!

Ah ha you say, what about the hard hitting investigative reporting we all need to make sure those in high places are not up to low down and dirty deeds!

Again. Think of where most of the leads come from to expose wrong doing. That's right. You and me.

Will we always need professional investigative journalists? Of course. But they are simply an outgrowth of an investigative public, active and knowledgeable in its own affairs with access to the information and tools necessary in a representative democracy. 

We really shouldn't depend on journalists or elected officials or others to do our homework for us.

Am I advocating the dissolution of all profit based media? No. Advertising dollars pay salaries. Reporters aren't going to work for free. Someone has to gather up even the "bundled" news although over time this need may dissipate as well.

Am I advocating the fact that an organized and collaborative public can inform itself on an equal, or in some cases superior manner? Yes.

More in Part Three.

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