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EP203 Journalism is Dead. Long Live Journalism

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deadnettlez

Journalism is Dead, Long Live Journalism

At some point in human history there was this thing called journalism. Perhaps it was an object (like a pamphlet or a collated stabled glossy magazine) perhaps it was an event (like a lecture or news hour) that allowed for a group of people to absorb a common viewpoint. From then on those that had listened or read had a common jumping off point to continue the discussion face to face. Let's call that thing; journalism. Journalism has had many funding models thru its history, however it now faces a crisis which will kill it. We propose a model that may save journalism.

A journalist was a person who used their knowledge and experiences in the world to craft a narrative (a story) to help people understand their world. They interviewed people face to face, or corresponded in text, collecting facts and subjective impressions, then they would compile these facts in their mind or in a notebook. They would uses these impressions to then paint a picture of what reality was like.

These people became very important as they would release their message to the world in the form of public speeches or printed pamphlets Shards of these words would then filter into the stories that people would circulate amongst themselves at work sites, breakfast tables, and bar-room political debates. The nature of a successful journalist was to be someone who could speak compellingly about a subject, (engaging to hold the attention of the reader or listener). In addition if the journalist sought long term credibility (as someone who could be trusted to present the facts in an “objective way”), the journalist had to craft rhetorically robust arguments, fleshed out with facts gleaned in an unbiased manner. This did not always occur.

If someone was to practice the craft of journalism in their life as a profession they would need to sort out the logistic or financial support necessary to pursue this craft while also eating, enjoying shelter, and providing their family with the comforts enjoyed by populations around them. Lets look at several ways in which this was accomplished by journalists.

  1. Church journalism, spoken sermons from the pulpit, or newsletter written and published by lay people and clergy, were delivered because it was their mission from god, to speak the words that were in their heart and minds, proselytizing to the people they sought to entrance. These churches asked the people listening and reading to set aside 10% of their cash, or products of labor, (a tithe) to fund not only the journalistic mission of the church, but also the architectural and humanitarian aims of the same religious body. Journalists in this models are incentivized to reproduce the words that are most appealing to their target demographic, (the church itself). Editorials and viewpoints critical to the values of church at large were at best tolerated (with gnashing of teeth) at worst declared heresy; (causing the clergyman to tone down his or her rhetoric in the pulpit or go find another church.)
  2. Governmental journalism was produced during the fascist third riche era of German journalism; newspapers, radio news hours, and films, were subsidized by the Nazi party to promote viewpoints favorable to the fascist government of the time. Journalists were paid handsomely to give first hand accounts of the squalor and filth of marginalized populations, creating the impression amongst the readership that these marginalized groups were thus in need of “reform.” After the fall of the Nazi party, and during the united states subsidized rebuilding of Europe (the Marshall plan) journalists and publishing houses were given state funds to promote a “free press.” This was an equal opportunity program, which continues to this day. Many democratic socialist governments continues to support papers and news hours of many different viewpoints across the political spectrum. (far left to far right) However in the face of neoliberal/neoconservative politics, (the slashing of institutional budgets while simultaneously allowing the wealthy to disproportionally shed their tax burden. Causing unemployment for working class tax payers in a destructive feedback loop) who knows if this socialistic media subsidizing can continue.
  3. Advertising subsidized journalism in the hyper-capitalist unitedstatesofamerica has for the longest time maintained a rocky co-dependent relationship. The content that brings the readers/viewers; acquires the advertisers most willing to compensate the platform for those same eyes and ears. Various media platforms have more or less advertisers according to the tastes of their audience (Vogue Magazine is ¾ ads, while National Public Radio devotes 5% of the time to ads {if you do not count the fund-drives}) For a many years this allowed these platforms to devote their time and resources to journalistic travel (to find hard-hitting international stories) editorial excellence, and professional presentation (slick covers and prompt daily printing) But at the same time it gave the advertisers a varying modicum of editorial control over the medium, corporations could always threaten to remove their sponsorship of the platform if certain stories where not removed or modify to adhere to the values of the self-same corporation Increasingly as the advertisers are able to “disentermediate” and engage with their audience directly thru WorldWideWebTrafficAnalysis, via social networks, e-mail, and search histories; advertisers are finally able to leave the co-dependent relationship they once had with news platforms behind. Admen prefer a cheaply placed targeted ad, which sits directly next to the faces of your friends and loved ones. Relegated to the margins (pun intended), Journalism seems now only able to pander to the lowest common denominator. (If it bleeds, it leads), as it seeks the last remaining eyes and ears. Reporters and News people scramble to flesh out a narrative for people to believe in, as most of their former-coworkers are left unemployed or make it as part time bloggers without a guaranteed income.
  4. Volunteer-ism has produced much journalism. And as the distribution cost (via WWW) begin to approach zero, citizen journalists can reach larger and larger audiences. Just as in the example of the church, volunteer bloggers have stepped up to the plate, to speak the words that they find sitting in their minds and on their hearts. They do so as a gift and release their gift to the world without a need to be compensated. Neighborhood newsletters seek to keep a small communities engaged in the events of their co-inhabitants, and printing and distribution are funded by donations or home owners association fees. Zine writers hack KinkosMachines to distribute their pamphlets to friends and loved ones, sharing stories in a DIY ethos. Pod-casters lend their voice to the web hoping that the things that are said will inspire unknown strangers around the world. Perhaps the gifts given to the world, returns to these various volunteer in the form of a donation or new opportunities. However these volunteer journalists cannot always sustain their level of output, as it takes their time and attention away from fulfilling their logistic and financial needs. Besides why do what you love for free, when you can do something you hate for a paycheck. (sarcasm)

So, no one goes to church anymore, the government is bankrupt, advertisers threw the baby-out with the bathwater and volunteers cannot compete with the voluminous and obnoxious drivel that passes for “main stream media” these days. JOURNALISM IS DEAD!

! long live journalism !

DEFINING THE TERMS OF THE NEW MEDIA LANDSCAPE.

EVERYTHING that is OLD is NEW AGAIN

We of the DECENTRALIZED ATONOMOUS MEDIA NETWORK (hereafter known as the D.A.M.N.) seek to bootstrap a new media landscape that is based on patterns found in living ecosystems, which is too say. Energy in ecosystems tends to stay in the system unless acted on by a parasitic force (erosion extraction) Disruptive media Eco-systems, in a distributed media landscape need pioneer species to hold denuded vitamin and mineral poor soil, and establish photosynthetic pathways from which and into which new nutrients can cycle. To make this less abstract we will make it simple for the audience.

PAY THE WRITERS, PAY THE PUBLISHERS, PAY THE READERS

We pay our writers, and speakers because they have work very hard to externalize the messages they have sitting in their hearts and in their minds. We pay the writers because we want them to utilize their unique voice, language, cultural niche’s perspective to help us come to a common understanding of reality, we want them to be well fed and have a roof over their head.

We pay the publishers, because they put themselves at risk releasing our words. Authoritarian regimes around the world increasingly seek to choke off free speech and free assembly through violence. Security culture is not free (though through our collective efforts this cost can approach zero). We pay our publishers because they put time, talent, and energy into creating beautiful objects and experiences that will help people to internalize the messages of our writers and speakers.

We pay the readers, because they are just as much a part of our medium, as the writers and publishers are. We pay the readers because in the world of non-stop information and 24 hour news cycles, (where the cost of releasing mindless drivel and thoughtless dis-empowering propaganda, approaches zero) we seek to tip the balance. At some point our magazines had cost money, then they were free. Now we at the DAMN seek to pay our readers, knowing full well that other propaganda machine will follow suit, or risk irrelevancy, but we will be first! Thus establishing an important ecologic foot hold as pioneer species

Now we must define “PAY” There is an inherent risk in using the old linga de provencia (paper of the state) to pay the organisms in our media ecosystem. This risk is that the monopoly old central bank regimes have over the financial system, will be used as leverage against our fledgeling media network. So henceforth we will utilize a transmutable symbol (only peripherally connected to central bank issued fiat currencies, or old regimes of compensation (unpaid media internships)), to PAY our organism.

The new symbols will be included in this very pamphlet that you hold in your hands. Not only does it represent an un-banked note (which can be exchanged for goods and services), but it is also the portal into which you can encode future ideas, visions, disruptive impulses, and it is also your key to our distribution network. The tools that runs this newsletter, and future speech patterns, are simple ones. This tool is older than the printing press, the typewriter, the PC, the mobile computing device, or the cognitive implant (though all of these tools aid in its deployment) This tool is the prime number. (a number only divisible by one and itself)

PRIME NUMBERS! I pick a prime, you pick a prime we multiply our primes by a previously agreed upon 3rd prime and BandaBingBandaBoom, we've generated a symbol that is easily proved valid and difficult to back track to find the seed of. (If this doesn't make sense yet do not fear) Those forces which would seek to neutralize the potency of our DAMN message (including our own internal parasites) will be prevented from doing so by the fact that... ALL PRIMES ARE SACRED. (we are protected by that which is sacred; (our higher power))

So have we aroused an eager anticipation in you? (confusion counts.) You are now excited to engage and actively participate in the new paradigm that will propagandize first your own mind, then the minds of those around you to the emergent possibilities of the world unfolding around you? What aspect of the DAMN will you engage with? Will you be a writer? Illustrator? News Anchor? Public Speaker? Citizen journalist? Printer? Advertiser? Technician? Nutrient Hyper-Accumulator? The possibilities are possibly endless.

But lets be practical. Lets be real, First we must recognize each other. Starting small and spiral outward, we will build from our own success. Start by make 5 copies of this pamphlet Change the primes atop or don't. We don't want one person printing 10,000 copies, we want 1000 people printing 10 copies, We don't want a speaker with 500,000 people in a lecture hall we want 100,000 people telling their 5 best friends. We don't want one world currency, but a world which is so abundant we don't need to pay for anything.

The keys to our communications is to use our unique perspective to crowd out those old world ideas which seek to impoverish our imagination, (leaving us cynical and neutralized) And replicate and propagate those memes which help us imagine grassroots solutions, to global systemic problems.

We bifurcate like an antibiotic resistant colony of bacteria and yeast, in symbiosis with its host. Not knowing where one stops and the next begins.

Someone you know is doing it right now! Help them, join them, and join us. Thank you for your Time Attention and Help. Claim your Readers Credits by going too, the Prime atop this page. Love, the Decentralized Autonomous Media Network.

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  • adam

    I like your flow, you might even be crazier than I am.

    I hope you don't mind me co-opting your acronym, tomorrow I'm going to talk to the staff about really turning the network into a Decentralized, Automatic Media Network.

    I think Automatic is a better work than autonomous because the network itself is not so much autonomous unto itself as the interactions within it, that comprise it and occur between it and users and users and users are automated once the initial parameters have been set.

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  • deadnettlez

    Right because this is still the human scale bootstrapping phase. Please do. Blessed & Best

    ROBERT MCCHESNEY's DIGITAL DISCONNECT http://c-realm.com/podcasts/crealm/385-journalism-is-a-public-good/

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