TECH TALK: Emerging Enterprises and Emergent Networks: Journalism 3.0

A pivotal moment in the world of journalism happened last week at the PC Forum in Arizona. Dan Gillmor of the San Jose Mercury News was blogging a panel discussion being made on his website through a Wi-Fi connection. As it turned out, one of the panelists was reading Gillmor’s blogs and actually corrected one of the points made by Gillmor, which Gillmor promptly posted on his blog. The feedback loop was completed. Gillmor later posted his thoughts about “Journalism 3.0”:

It’s based on several principles, including:

  • My readers know more than I do;
  • That is not a threat, but rather an opportunity;
  • We can use this together to create something between a seminar and a conversation, educating all of us;
  • Interactivity and communications technology — in the form of e-mail, weblogs, discussion boards, websites and more — make it happen.

In the near-term, expect changes in the way we get our news. Amateur journalists have already started providing views on developments as they happen on their weblogs. They may not have the finish of an edited article in a mainstream publication, but that’s more than made up by their freshness and rawness. News in the future is going to be more inclusive as many more people have the ability to write and be read.

This is echoed by Dave Winer, a blogger himself (

As with personal computing, the early days of Web publishing belonged to the hobbyists, reveling that it worked at all. But the Web is maturing, the tools are getting easy, as the understanding of the technology has become widespread. Serious professional journalists use the new tools, moonlighting, publishing the news they don’t or can’t sell to the big publications who employ them.

At the same time, we’re returning to what I call amateur journalism, people writing for the public for the love of writing, without any expectation of financial compensation. This process is fed by the changing economics of the publishing industry which is employing fewer reporters, editors and writers. But the Web has taught us to expect more information, not less, and that’s the sea-change that the NY Times and other big publications face — how to remain relevant in the face of a population that can do for themselves what the BigPubs won’t.

Writes Dale Peskin in an article entitled “The Future of News: Preparing for the Coming Era of Participatory News”:

As an interconnected society moves toward participating in the news, the Brotherhood of News seeks to protect its values and exert its control. Just as zero changed the equation shaping humanity’s vision of the universe, accessible media changes the equation that shapes news and informs society. Everyone is a journalist in the age of access. But for most news organizations, collaboration with their audience is an irrational concept, a dangerous idea.

Storytellers – specialists in the art of conveying human emotions — rule this future. And in this future, everyone is a storyteller. Everyone creates the collective experience. Everyone creates the collective intelligence.

We would travel backward and forward in a loop. Time is never linear. Neither are its stories. They are organic, always growing and changing. They have no beginning, middle or end.

How to travel? The Web. From there we go where imagination leads. On the Web, imagination takes an interconnected society on a journey of timeless discovery through words, images and interaction. Instead of writing essays we would build a site. We would create experiences. We would make stories.

Our stories will take us beyond convergence to emergence. There, news becomes the product of a universally distributed intelligence that develops from an interconnected society enabled by interactive media. It occurs in real time, self-regulating, constantly enhanced. The connections enabled by media lead to mutual recognition and enrichment of individuals, rather than a cult of communities and institutions.

The calculus for the fundamental unity of knowledge emerges. The guiding tenets: No one knows everything. Everyone knows something. All knowledge resides in humanity.

Something similar can happen in the world of business, driven by the emergent networks formed by the small and medium enterprises.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.