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The power of networks: distributed journalism, meme warfare, and collective intelligence [BCM112]

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Dr Teodor Mitew

on 26 March 2017

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Transcript of The power of networks: distributed journalism, meme warfare, and collective intelligence [BCM112]

From Citizen Journalism to Collective Intelligence
citizen journalism
the story so far
the pamphlet
the crisis of gatekeepers
Daniel Defoe
real name
Gutenberg's press unleashes the age of print
news as a bundle
focus on the writer
focus on the publisher
high cost of entry
high risk
quality filter
notice the appeal to Authority
a new type of media user >>
producing, sharing, consuming
we used to be '
the audience
content creation
no cost of entry

no quality filter

no up-front risk
participatory culture
one to many
many to many
everyone can broadcast
new media - new messages
a crisis of control
Most citizen journalism strikes me as nothing to do with journalism at all. A lot of bloggers seem to be
socially inadequate
, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed, young men sitting in their mother's basements and
. They are very
people. OK – the country is full of very angry people. Many of us are angry people at times. Some of us are angry and drunk. But the so-called citizen journalism is the spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night. It is fantastic at times but it is not going to replace journalism.
10 oCT 2010, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/8053717/Andrew-Marr-attacks-inadequate-pimpled-and-single-bloggers.html
Andrew Marr, BBC political presenter
screen capture, nyhederne.tv2.dk
Danish channel TV2 used a screen-grab from the computer game Assassin's Creed to illustrate a news report 'from Damascus' about the ongoing war in Syria
The second issue it raises is the one of
'authority' versus 'involvement'
. Or, more crudely, 'Us versus Them'. Here the tension is between a world in which journalists considered themselves – and were perhaps considered by others – special figures of authority. We had the information and the access; you didn't. You trusted us to filter news and information and to prioritise it – and to pass it on accurately, fairly, readably and quickly. That state of affairs is now in tension with a world in which many (but not all)
readers want to have the ability to make their own judgments; express their own priorities; create their own content; articulate their own views; learn from peers as much as from traditional sources of authority
. Journalists may remain one source of authority, but
people may also be less interested to receive journalism in an inert context – ie which can't be responded to, challenged, or knitted in with other sources
. It intersects with the pay question in an obvious way: does our journalism carry sufficient authority for people to pay – both online (where it competes in an open market of information) and print?
A journalist is just a heightened case of an informed citizen,
not a special class
"It would be wonderful to be able to present you with some blinding vibrant
future for the old media organizations … For newspapers, the last great
hope now seems to be something called Waiting for Rupert."
produsage is based on permissive regimes of engagement which are based on merit more than ownership: they frequently employ copyright systems which acknowledge authorship and prohibit unauthorised commercial use, yet
enable continuing collaboration
on further content improvement
Think back to the days when print media ruled. Your basic unit of consumption was not the article, nor the writer, but the publication. You bought the publication in the hope or expectation that it would contain good writing.
The publisher was the guarantor of quality

Professional writers still see value in having publishers online, not so much as guarantors of quality, but because publishers pay for writing – or, increasingly, if they do not pay for it, they do at least publish it in a place where it will get read.

Readers, on the other hand, have less of a need for publishers. One striking trend I have noticed in the past five years is the way in which
individual articles uncouple themselves from the places where they are first published, to lead their own lives across the internet, passed from hand to hand between readers
of information as product
a profession in crisis
a comic interlude
a comic interlude
'all the news that's fit to print'
we package the news for you in a bundle
you buy it from us because you trust us
and you have no other way to get it
we sell advertising space
at inflated prices, because advertisers have nowhere else to go
every element of this model
is in crisis
Walmart pays for the Baghdad bureau
What if the environment where advertisers had to pay over the top for page space, generating excess capital for news organizations to invest in chasing not immediately profitable stories (investigative journalism), was an accidental product of industrial society, never to return?
advertising income has fallen off a cliff
and not coming back
the internet is the most efficient medium at matching demand and supply
if you wanted to sell your car would you go to The Australian, SMH, The Age?
to survive, the legacy news media model has to literally
stop the audience from acting as a publisher
Mark Scott, Head of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
The business model is one that says we must charge for all content online.
It's the argument that says the age of free is over: we must now extract
direct monetary return from the content we create in all digital forms.
Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian

The first is about '
open versus closed
'. This is partly, but only partly, the same issue. If you universally make people pay for your content it follows that you are no longer open to the rest of the world, except at a cost. That might be the right direction in business terms, while simultaneously reducing access and influence in editorial terms.
It removes you from the way people the world over now connect with each other
You cannot control distribution or create scarcity without becoming isolated from this new networked world
two questions follow:
Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian
two questions follow:
Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian
Jay Rosen
nobody knows everything, everybody knows something
lacking authority
authority is the essence of gatekeeping
it provides a
stamp of approval
i.e. if it comes from Andrew Marr it must be
[and true]
Why? Because he works for the
authority provides closure
as in 'keep calm and carry on'
citizen journalism is the absence of authority
open process, no closure, continuously under development
Robert Cottrell, editor of The Browser
from content production
to content prod/usage
case>> user generated content
case>> investigative content
case>> focused citizen journalism news
the open source model
Cathedral vs Bazaar
Eric Raymond
one of the most frequented finance blogs in the world
> 4.7 million unique visitors a month
more than 40 anonymous contributors posting under the Tyler Durden pseudonym
investigative journalism as an anonymous pamphlet
exposed the Goldman Sachs high frequency trading conspiracy
in authority
from publishers to writers
in value
Which types of news content are genuinely scarce?
in content
From news as a bundle to niche content
a shift from dedicated individuals and teams as producers to a broader-based,
distributed generation of content
by a wide community of participants
Axel Bruns
fluid movement of produsers between roles
as leaders, participants, and users of content – such produsers may have backgrounds ranging from professional to amateur
Axel Bruns
artefacts generated are
no longer products in a traditional sense
: they are
always unfinished
, and continually under development – such development is evolutionary, iterative, and palimpsestic
Axel Bruns
Axel Bruns
thank you!
April 2016 figures, quantcast.com
closed content model
open content model
controls distribution
values participation
artificial scarcity
generative value
walled garden
open access platform
paid content
free content
authority model
involvement model
monopoly on access
open access
content as product
content as conversation
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