That the “old media” have never understood the new one it was yet clear, so I don’t need to summarize here which newspapers and journalists have first praised the medium (today areFacebook and Twitter, yesterday was Second Life) then have disparaged it, trying to forget it quickly, giving the impression of having fear of being unable to master it or understand it fully and finally giving a priori judgment strongly defensive of their status quo.
The problem, perhaps, lies upstream, in the evolution that the new media (social networking, virtual worlds, aggregators or news feeds, textual or semantic search engines …) realize and possibilities they open up the sector of information. An area central and strategic to economic and political decision for each country. So I was very curious about a statement posted on Facebook in recent days by a former colleague journalist, Francesco Bellofatto, whom I met some years ago at Il Denaro (an economic newspaper of Naples where I worked) and that, if fate, was invited to offer his testimony like communication consultant within the last meeting of Sentieri Digitali in Naples.
Francesco tried to define the role of old and new media, the relationship between communication and journalism and the impact in acceleration of technological innovation on social transformations, from the eighth of participation, interactivity, sharing not only of knowledge, but their life experiences. “It’s not a problem of the decline of old media (“one to many” way) or the emancipation of the new media (“many to many” way), characterized by accessibility, by the simultaneous sharing of experience and expertise. Perhaps it is not even an issue of codes and decoding. It’s a question of how the society is unable to adapt rapidly to this revolution”, says Francesco, who then recalled a few comments now commonly accepted, in particular the fact that “the role of readers has become fundamental: they are to play detective work and journalism. The transfer of these skills by professional corporations to the general public is a historic transition”.
But even the fact that “the future of information is an editorial model that comes from the past: to give readers quality, credibility and originality, that are still the most important figures in the process of information” and that “if we continue to invest all our mental energy trying to maintain the old model of publishing and business, we will not be able to invent a new model that works better for everyone”. These are some of the considerations now accepted, says Francesco, “then arrive fresh and cool Vittorio Zambardino and Massimo Russo, with their project “Eretici Digitali” (digital eretics) and make you think the status quo” by offering an analysis that my former colleague agrees:”the net has produced a divided society, with one hand that loves it and the other that hates it. This division does not make sense, need a common language. The question is: with digital we have a common destiny. And we could not speak”.
But “digital is a new universe” that had just arrived and is in danger of disappearing. Swallowed by the establishment, ruled by a political “ignorant”, influenced and reclaimed from old and new masters. Should “teach the Internet to the establishment”, but “is it possible to halt a policy that continues to send alerts and produce laws of war against freedom of expression?” Citizens and electronic journalism can still come together to find the future together. But time is short, and is a bad time. To see the road clearly is necessary to set aside three orders of dogmas: those produced by power, that of journalism (the digital as loss of reality), those of the network. So far, in summary, the analysis of Zambardino and Russo, which Francesco drew a conclusion: “Journalism must be renewed with an eye to a new audience, participating, interacting, if you do not want to lose its authority and abdicate role”.
Stimulated by this proposition, I raise further (to Francesco and all of you): journalism as far as we have seen and thought was already dead, that they realize it or not. It does not matter if you are Il Denaro or the New York Times, if you’re a tool of the establishment or a beautiful soul and independent: if you do not understand you’re dead. Because have changed the relationships sources <-> journalist and journalist <-> readers. With the web and social media it has no sense, maybe, the function of “filter” of the journalist who has often translated into a useful tool for limiting the freedom of information / opinion (not just in Italy). Would rethink the role of the journalist as “certification” of the news as “story” itself.
But decades of non-investment in this sense (how many times who is on the business has heard the director to talk about “quality” and then ended up writing tricks?) Have done, not only in Italy, tabula rasa, or nearly so. So maybe will first readers to become “new” journalists than the journalists to reinvent themselves. Or maybe not? What do you think? The debate is open, the contributions, also from fans of the web, social networks and virtual worlds are welcome.