About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The advantages (and disadvantages) of live webcasts

We just had a new senator appointed to take the place of Hilary Clinton for our state. As I watched the live webcast, and the formal speeches ended, I was amused at the way that the state press secretary (tried) to handle the press. After a couple of minutes of asking the press to return to their seats, he whispered something to the Governor. Then he announced, "If the press does not take their seats in 2 minutes, the Governor will leave." And still the members of the press, like disorderly school kids, wandered around. Finally, someone took the mic and began to call on members to ask their questions.

Just like a classroom, many members of the press then answered. However, some still were walking around and speaking (in none too quiet voices). Also during this time, you could hear the new appointee, Kirsten Gillibrand, apologize to the governor for going over her time. "I was a bit nervous, "you could hear her murmur.

New Access to Information

The new technologies have given those who want it an unprecidented access to information without the commentary. In the press conference that followed, I was very impressed with the level of knowledge that the new senator has on a variety of issues. I was also shocked at the lack of respect and even rudeness that some of the reporters showed during the press conference. I will be interested in hearing what the edited version will be.

What this means is that citizens can listen to either the edited version or the unedited version. When listening to the commentary on the President's inauguration speech, I wondered if I had listened to the same speech. My children were not allowed to hear the entire speech, so we looked for the full speech on line so they could hear it for themselves.

This is not to say that I don't think there is a role for the press. However, the press is not the only opinion or "experts" any more who decide which information "the common person" can hear (or tolerate). In rehearing the President Obama's speech, for example, I was able to pick up on new things I had missed in the original speech (because of the press commentary). It did not mean I agreed with them, but it gave me a different perspective.

Future of the Press

I feel that this is the dawn of a new role for the press. It is important that citizens have access to our govenment processes. We should have access to the bodies of government, including their debates, decision making processes, and even a way to dialog with policy makers. To do this, we need to change our current, old fashioned way of teaching civic education to make government more interactive.

We also need our government officials to be aware that we have access to their decision making process. They should not be afraid of the public, but rather aware of it.


Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia

This is an intriguing perspective on freedom of speech. I appreciate what you are saying here.

In all fairness to whatever the occasion, there would be no 'fair' way to ensure that a speech, such as Obama's, would be listened to with pristeen clarity, no matter where the observer was located, whether a fly on the new President's lapel, a favoured onlooker in the crowd, an observer watching a direct video relay, or someone watching an edited replay 10 years from now.

So it is in any conversation, from any observer vantagepoint - there's always a slant that is given to the relay of communication that's dependent on position and circumstance of the observer.

Catchya later
from Middle-earth

V Yonkers said...

In a way, I guess I am saying that we need to educate people to go out and find as many perspectives as possible to get to the "truth". Many journalists have looked down at the blogging and social networking phenomenon as not being "legitimate." However, I believe that giving the general public the tools that used to me owned only by journalists is important in this new age.

Journalists are taught to gather information (including interviews, primary and secondary information, observation), analyze that information, then come to some conclusions that they will then need to communicate to the general public. However, though many try to be neutral, the fact is that they are human beings and as such will always have a bias based on their own experience, previous knowledge, and values. Isnt' this what we should be teaching everyone?

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia

"(T)hey are human beings and as such will always have a bias based on their own experience, previous knowledge, and values."

I believe that this is so much a summary of the individual.

If it wasn't like this, if it was that we all saw things the same way, that our beliefs were so paralleled that we drew the same inferences and made the same surmises from every similar observation, we would not be individuals.

To teach us to be individuals is also to uphold the right to have an opinion that's different from the next person. Journalists have. Authors have. Bloggers have. But the reputation of the journalist, the author, the blogger, is associated with the opinion that's put up for scrutiny.

I have a diary at home. I don't publish it. It contains my (devout) opinion of all sorts of things. But it is not under scrutiny and there is no way that, as long as it stays in my possession, it will ever have any function in the assessment, by others, of my opinion.

When I blog, on the other hand, I am aware that the world - literally - is at large to scrutinise my writing, whether in a comment against another blogger's post or in one of my own blog posts.

There are some bloggers that, in some circles, are held up and appraised in the same way as the journalists. But there are some bloggers that write in a way that would not curry favour with the critical reader. They have their own following. But in the wide scheme of things, and because they also tend to be so numerous, they tend to tinge the public opinion of the worth of what's written by bloggers. The opinion that the world has of bloggers is not looked upon too highly because of this.

But these bloggers are not like the journalists who might otherwise not have their writing published - unless these journalists publish their writing on their own blog. Then they become bloggers, not journalists :-)

Catchya later
from Middle-earth