Recent submission to a local newsletter ...
How new is your news?
Back in the old days, news was something we heard from a neighbour, or a traveler from another town, or maybe saw in a daily or weekly newspaper. It was still considered current events, “news”, because it was new to us. And if there was a choice in publications to follow, we often picked the one that reinforced our own views.
Later on news came via radio and television newscasts, with hourly updates and evening summaries and opinion pieces, but still filtered and summarized and arranged with the appropriate biases.
We then moved to the ability to read news flashes on-line, or tune to CBC or CNN to watch their “live” coverage of a Shuttle launch or a hurricane or a white Ford Bronco driven down a highway by a sports icon.
Now we have real time connectivity to friends and strangers and events, so that even “newer” news is our for the taking, via the ubiquitous cell phones. Many of these are more than just a phone, they're “smart”, packing in more power than my first computer, and adding features such as two way text messages and web access, and often the ability to take, and upload, photos and videos.
We now can easily have access to more news than we know what to do with, the challenge is to somehow act as our own news organizations. Who or what do we follow, how do we judge the accuracy of all this raw data, how do we keep it in the context of news from other more traditional sources, how do we manage this fire hose flow of information? We can bypass the filtering and spin of the traditional sources, but how do we use what we have to correct or nullify or add to that spin?