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Controlling the message in Media 2.0

Added on by Chris Saad.
I am very late to the story where Microsoft’s PR agency sends its memo on a Wired journalist to the journalist himself (the dossier is here).

Read an insightful commentary on it by Jeremy Wagstaff from the Wall Street Journal.

To me this underscores the level of command and control large companies try to exhert over the message of the day in the Media. A level which, in the face of Media 2.0, has been severely diminished

While orchestrated media campaigns can still be waged by PR companies driving the message for mainstream media outlets and A-list bloggers (with B and C list bloggers following the Techmeme cluster) the great long tail means that something worthy of discussion is still discussed and covered - it still gets ink - somewhere.

Take the launch of Peepel yesterday. The coverage was huge. It seemed like every blog was talking about it (with notable exception of Techcrunch - I think Michael has something against Aussies from Brisbane).

I know that Peepel is a startup and I assume like all startups they don't have a Microsoft level PR firm pulling the strings. Yet they still managed to get plenty of coverage. Coverage that mainstream media would have never provided.

With feed readers and new content discovery/delivery tools like Touchstone, that coverage is being heard by people who are interested. We can now each have our message heard by people who want to hear it.

The leveling of the playing field and the increased diversity of voices can only be a good thing for innovation, understanding and the human race in general.

I am not dumb - I am wired

Added on by Chris Saad.
Chris Anderson recently posted a pair of articles about a Transparent Wired Magazine. What would that look like? The first post resembles my Media 2.0 roadmap. Read Post 1 and Post 2 here.

Post 2, is far more interesting however. He talks about revealing the internal staff hierarchy to the world, exposing internal staff wikis and scratchpads, publishing drafts and transcripts as they are created, giving users the power to rate comments and include them as part of the story, use their recently acquisition of reddit (or similar paradigm) to actually decide what makes it into the magazine, and my personal favorite - wikify everything.

Imagine that - a place where the articles on a given topic no longer represent a moment in time, but rather an evolving commentary on a given subject. Is this actually feasible? Would the result become unbearably long and detailed?

Something David Dobbs writes in response is very interesting...

Some of the unease rises from concerns that might seem vain or proud: I like to think that in many cases I really AM more qualified than others to write about a given subject and (more to the point) that doing a ton of research on a subject — reading hundreds of pages and talking to highly informed and involved people —gives me a deeper and more nuanced view of a subject that gives the resulting story a certain priority in placement and attention. Indeed, that's precisely what publishing is all about.

He does go on to admit:

(Yes, it's also about power and hoarding information that can then be packaged and sold, yada yada. I'll raise my hand and confess I'm almost certainly unwittingly doing all those things -- but then, so does a farmer or carpenter or plumber.)

I would argue that recently (and maybe for long, long time) in the 24 hour news cycle, the TV media especially has completely failed to provide any real context and neunce to ongoing stories. They seem to glob onto any piece of sensational news and fail to give it any broader meaning.

They use prejudicial words without giving any thought to their bias and they fail to consider the real impacts for real people.

As Chris is suggesting in his posts, Wired and other print journalists could be great at creating over-arching summaries or focusing a community around a topic and then summarizing the conversation at the end. Nuance, however, seems to come from bloggers - not professionals.

He also argues against publishing transcripts because...

Lots of ums and ungrammatical sentences and sentence fragments. Lots of digressions, side comments, and stupid failed wisecracks. All that clutter of broken strings and floating particles makes little sense if encountered on paper by a reader who wasn't present but makes complete sense (well, nearly complete sense) to the person who was there in the conversation.

I think that, unfortunately, Mr Dobbs is making the same mistake that most mainstream media outlets (including TV networks) make. They think we are dumb.

Transcripts reveal something about an interviewee that the resulting article cannot. It reveals character, personality and context.

I have been interviewed many times and, with no disrespect to my journalist friends, my quotes are often taken out of context for the purposes of narrative flow. That's fine for articles - but in this new transparent world - I'd like the option of digging deeper.