If you spend two days in a seminar with 12 journalists from around the world (just one American, one Brit) you are bound to come out with a more global sense of the future of journalism. Add to that the 0ther 600 delegates at the World Economic Forum in Dubai who are talking about everything from the Ageing Society to the Welfare of Children and you get a perspective on journalism’s place in this new media world.
Of course, WEF is a pro-market organisation so expect left-field rather than Left-wing ideas, but it was interesting how the group on journalism stressed the potential public value of more participatory news media.
This was partly a recognition of the new disintermediated reality. A lot of humble pie was eaten, even by the hugely successful and growing media entrepreneurs from places like India and China where audiences and profits are booming. They too understand the deeper digital changes that offer opportunities and threats to conventional news businesses.
I was delighted to see the general adoption of networked journalism as the model, but the really tough question was what do you do with it? And flowing from that, what do you do to nurture, facilitate, foster the kind of networked journalism that can do all those nice things like help citizens make decisions about stuff like politics, education or even fun?
You could just argue that we should let the combination of market forces and the power of the Internet decide. Or you could come up with some suggestions for how powerful players like government, the EU or even WEF can intervene to boost the benefits for ‘good journalism’.
Part of our task is how to convince the other 600 people – ie global civil society – what journalism can do for them.
This was the final statement that the journalism group came up with.
These are the proposals for action that the group came up with.