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News as an Ecosystem: Shifting Perspectives for Citizen Journalists. Media Ecology Association Conference Mexico City, June 6, 2007 Christine M. Tracy Eastern Michigan University. What is news? . Google News (May 24, 2007) . Driving Research Question.

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News as an ecosystem shifting perspectives for citizen journalists l.jpg

News as an Ecosystem: Shifting Perspectives for Citizen Journalists

Media Ecology Association Conference

Mexico City, June 6, 2007

Christine M. Tracy

Eastern Michigan University

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What is news? Journalists

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Driving Research Question Journalists

“If the origins of modern communication had been, in critical respects, liberal and democratic, how then had the media developed along lines that were so deeply in tension with those ideas?”

Paul Starr, The Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communication

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Critical Approach to American Media System Journalists

Articulated by:

  • Upton Sinclair-Brass Check

  • Chomsky & Herman-Manufacturing Consent

  • Robert W. McChesney--Rich Media, Poor Democracy

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The news and information delivery system in the U.S., a.k.a. “The Media” is


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Formulating an Answer and a Model: Key Premises “The Media” is

1. If the problem with the American media system is structural, then no amount of critical analysis or research into effects will solve the problem.

2. We cannot expect a media system to serve democratic ideals when those ideals are not evidenced in society.

3. Individual citizens are consumers as well as producers of information: each of us is responsible for the information we consume.

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Preview of Today’s Discussion “The Media” is

1. Rationale for an ecological model of news.

2. Theoretical foundations of the model:

a.Teilhard de Chardin’s Noosphere

b. Kaufer & Carley’s Communicative Transaction

c. Bowman & Willis’s Emerging Media Ecosystem

d. Hiler’s Blogosphere

3. Introduction on an ecological model

4. Examples of participatory and citizen journalism

5. Future directions

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Teilhard's “The Media” is “Diagram of the Sphere”

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Bowman and Willis’s “The Media” is Emerging Media Ecosystem

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Hiler’s Blogosphere “The Media” is

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Decentralized. “The Media” is

Features audiences as active participants in the consumption, creation, and dissemination of news.

Features a bottom-up, emergent, peer-to-peer social network.

Features news unfiltered by a mediator.

Publishes than filters.

Values conversation, collaboration, and egalitarianism over profitability.

Maintains Journalism’s underlying principles.

Features consumers as innovators.

Source: We Media, Bowman & Willis

Characteristics of the Ecological News Model

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Campbell Laird’s Vision “The Media” is

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An Individual News Model “The Media” is

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Some Challenges “The Media” is

Revenue generation and shifting from owning to sharing the story.

2. Capital must come from popular organizations (Chomsky).

3. Requires an ideological shift: news generation and dissemination perceived as a dialogue and network of ideas and information (not a commodity.)

Some Questions

What is the individual’s (or consumer’s) relationship to existing news and information outlets?

How do individuals affect existing and emerging outlets?

Future Directions

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Paper and presentation available at “The Media” is

Christine Tracy

Eastern Michigan University

[email protected]

[email protected]