Session 1: Media Inflection: Mainstream Media and the survival of professional journalism

Bob Giles from Nieman is talking about media and citizen journalism before the roundtable, moderated by Merrill Brown, begins.
“How do we use these information technologies for the common good?”
Larry Grossman is talking about the digital promise project–idea is to develop a trust fund modeled on the NIH and the NSF and to focus this fund on research on how to use the new technologies in the nonprofit and education sectors, financed by the sale of spectrum.
Merrill: How will your efforts help journalism and media?
Larry: We want to digitize content and make it available to the world; through education and civic education, we want to improve the quality of democracy and citizen’s knowledge.
Michael Schrage: I disagree. This is very symbolic of the paternalistic intervention approach of what blogging really is and denies the realities of the marketplace. One of the most important things we can do to encourage citizen participation is to allow technical innovation and support open source and create access that way.
Larry: That’s one of the silliest arguments I’ve ever heard. We have public education because we think society has to help education… This is an effort to bring existing institutions into the digital age and the 21st century…This is not a government mandated program or elitist effort.
Shrage: I have something against the belief that bottom up participation will be better helped or encouraged by institutional intervention.
Halley Suitt: The quickness and the fastness of blogging is part of what conventional journalism is banging up against. The best thing about blogging is not what bloggers do, it is what the audience is doing out there.
Danny Schechter: Michael, you’ve attached Larry, but the fact of the matter is that the public broadcast spectrum has subsidized private interests for a long time. The idea the market will save us has no connection with reality. Nonprofits have a tremendous struggle today to sustain themselves because they are seeking to operate in a public interest way and depend on the subsidies of funders who have made their fortunes in industry. The common good–what do we mean by that?
Rebecca McKinnon: How do you strength deliberative democracy? At the same time there are issues about legality that need to be looked at….There is a huge fight going on about municipal wireless and what the rate for access will be and this ties back to legislation…this is where we need to look..
Weinberger: IWhen you go one level down, do we all believe in the same thing? I am not sure we do.
We do have a private organization our digitizing the world’s great libraries–Google. So, which is better for the common good–for Google to own those libraries or for the government to own those archives?
Also, I think it would be great for the common good if newspapers owned up their archives–but there are business issues–do we we all agree?
Jan Schaffer: One of the most robust areas we’re seeing is non profit media–there is alot of media looking to get a social return on the investment–this is evolving and may well supplant a profit model.