August 3, 2010

“Corrections” But No Conversation

A long time ago I mentioned an emerging struggle in journalism that I called the rhetoric of lecture versus the rhetoric of conversation following a post by Jay Rosen that was among the first to identify the changing discourse of news. This struggle is not confined to journalism in the internet age.¬†Journalism¬†is just an easy first place to see the effects of electronically-mediated interactivity because it is such an important civic-cultural expression (or, at least, it claims such for itself re: journalism’s theory of democracy; see especially: pp. 55-61).

This is just a fancy way of saying the public can now talk back effectively. It can also produce its own news on its own or in collaboration with mainstream news media.

And, as we have seen, web efforts can also fact-check journalism (and punditry) and its sources.

Here’s an interesting local effort I found: A Springfield Public Schools web page called Corrections and Clarifications dedicated to fact-checking local news media coverage of school issues.

This is not a new idea. That’s not why I’m highlighting it.

I see a problem here.

Where’s the conversation?

Are we merely to assume that the local news media are wrong and the school district is right in its long list of transgressions?

To make this site an advancement for civic information, I think the school district needs to do what journalism has done: open itself to the greater conversation.

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