Wednesday, August 10, 2005

'No silicon heaven? But where do all the calculators go?'

Hey there, here is my review of the citizen journalism seminar. Sorry if it appears in a strange place in the/(on the?) blog, I always start writing it at work on wednesday afternoon and don't finish it til later!

Once again the power of bloggers and other netusers was brought home to me (see, I am learning!) in Tama's tale of the American politician. 'Big media' reported the racist comment the politician made but bloggers took it and made it an issue that demanded more than the casual attention it was originally given. By generating the kind of heated online discussion that it did, the issue was thrust back into the 'big media' spotlight. It was a cycle where 'big media' broke the news and commented on its' racism but it was bloggers who increased the event's significance. This shift in emphasis meant that the politician's actions were re-examined, brought to the attention of a wider audience and he was held accountable for his actions.

The other thing that struck me about today's seminar was the way the information produced by citizen journalists and professionals could be used by historians (sorry, it was one of my majors!) as a well preserved and massive set of primary and secondary resources documenting the contrasting experiences of different events. Although this seems ridiculously obvious, it just really struck me that citizen journalism, with its' often unabashed subjectivity and emphasis on personal experience, really seemed to mirror the primary resources that social historians use, such as letters or diaries. Professional journalism in contrast, also functions as being a product of the context within which it was produced and having the same prejudices, values etc. but it is more bound up with the struggle for objectivity and ethical reporting. I guess what I'm trying to say in this meandering little tangent is that we can view 'big media' (with appropriate suspicion) as being like the source of information that attempts to act as a factual touchstone for a wide audience or at least a point of access for finding the dominant (but by no means the only or most appropriate) interpretation of a world event etc. Prof. journalism attempts to provide a framework through which to understand something, while online citizen journalism seems to express those understandings, sometimes challenging or dismissing the big media framework. This is a ridiculously meandering thing, i probably could have said all of that in one sentence and I'm sorry you had to read all that drivel.

I thought today's discussion was a really interesting/scary/hopeful reflection on what happens to our contributions once we put them out there into blogs, live journals or web pages etc. As the web appears to be this great, infinite realm it's scary to imagine that any scrap of information that we dare to throw out there could come back to haunt or discredit us.

Also, the title of this blog entry is a quote from one of my favourite TV shows. It is a British sci-fi comedy. If anyone can tell me the name of the show I'll give them a chocolate frog. I thought it (okay, okay rather tenuously) tied in with our discussion about where all the shreds of ourselves go once we put them out into/(onto?) the web....


Blogger Tama said...

I suspect Kryten's belief in Silicon Heaven could easily be relevant to our discussions (and I didn't even give away the source of your reference...).

Mon Aug 15, 12:28:00 pm 2005  
Blogger Hilary said...

Kryten: Oh, it's not the end for me, sir, it's just the beginning. I have served my human masters, now I can look forward to my reward in silicon heaven.
Lister: Silicon what?
Kryten: Surely you've heard of silicon heaven?
Lister: Has it got anything to do with being stuck opposite Bridgette Nielson in a packed lift?
Kryten: It's the electronic afterlife! It's the gathering place for the souls of all electonic equipment. Robots, calculators, toasters, hairdryers - it's our final resting place.
Lister: I don't mean to say anything out of place here, Kryten, but that is completely whacko, Jacko. There is no such thing as "silicon heaven."
Kryten: Then where do all the calculators go?

Season 3, Red Dwarf.
*cries* dammit, JB has them for $29!! And I cant buy them cos I dont have my job yet! Curses!!
But I guess at least now I get a chocolate!!? ;)

Tue Aug 16, 10:25:00 am 2005  
Blogger Hilary said...

oh and the episode was called "The last day"

and no, I didnt actually read Tama's comment, I just had to think what program you would possibly watch that was a sc-fi comedy that came from england, and since I am English, and Red Dwarf is my fav sc-fi comedy, I hedged by bets!!

Tue Aug 16, 10:27:00 am 2005  
Blogger Hilary said...

and I googled...

Tue Aug 16, 10:33:00 am 2005  

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