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Summary:

The media outlets apart from bringing readers news and information now have to embrace a new role: become amplifiers of the right kind of news including that directly shared by sources. Here is why I think so.

amplifier

A few days ago, in wake of the lively war of words between Elon Musk’s Tesla & The New York Times,  my colleague Mathew Ingram pointed out that thanks to the Internet and the social web, everyone from companies to governments are acting like media entities and spreading their messages, bypassing the messengers – aka the media outlets. Given that, one might ask: who needs traditional media then?

I tried to help answer that question in my post from last year: Amplification and the changing role of media. The gist of that post was that “as more sources of news start to go direct by posting their thoughts to their blogs, Twitter and Facebook pages, a journalist’s role becomes more about deciding what to amplify and what to ignore.”

…the rise of the social web, that has changed. Blogs, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other such platforms have made it easy for news makers to go direct to their constituents. So what is the role of today’s media person? In addition to reporting news, I think picking things to amplify is also important. Back in the day, news people made a choice by deciding which stories to write. Today, we have to adopt a similar rigor about what we choose to share and amplify. In sharing (on Twitter or even re-blogging) we are sending the same message as doing an original news report.

The big media outlets still have one thing that they can leverage: attention. By leveraging that attention and highlighting things worth highlighting, they can continue to bring the news to their constituents and at the same time add veracity to it — and thereby add the kind of value that makes them worth keeping around.

  1. Early access is another big role of the media – knowing that you can discuss something a week or two before release and trusting that the embargo will not be violated. The larger or more credible the outlet, the more likely they will be given that kind of access, enabling them to write more in depth pieces rather than just taking a last minute copy of a press release and publishing it almost verbatim.

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  2. I don’t like this. I fail to see the value of amplification. Yes, I do agree that curation should be an important job and maybe that’s all amplification is, removing the surrounding noise so we can hear what’s important.

    But shouldn’t journalism be about more than that? What we have now is journalism amplifying the corporate message. What we need is an independent media who is willing to call bullshit bullshit. Right?

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    1. agreed

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  3. Elia, you are correct. Yet, so many people don’t understand the value and purpose of journalism, partly because journalists have failed to educate the public and partly because some journalists don’t even know themselves what their purpose is.

    When government, private or public companies, and even nonprofits, broadcast their own information via social media or other platforms, it’s often called PR or worse, propaganda, because they do not follow well-established journalism ethics codes. These non-journalistic entities have an inherent conflict of interest, tooting their own horn. Their information comes directly from a single source, themselves.

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  4. Adding to that, with more and more channels for people to express their viewpoints, there should also be some accountability for the things they say! Am thinking esp of politicians that like to craft messages for certain groups that may not be intended for dissemination to the general public.
    We’re trying to do that at unfold.com . . .we track influential people (including congressmen) and their opinions around the hot topics the public is debating. We’ve added in a flipflopper feature when someone makes contradictory statements (perhaps they’ve truly changed their mind about something or perhaps they are just being hypocritical . . .we leave that up to the reader to decide.) What is most fun is just searching for a person and seeing the history of their opinions through interviews, their own tweets/blog posts, and even bill’s they’ve sponsored. Pretty enlightening!

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  5. Why is GigaOm allowing ads in the comment space?

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  6. That was a spammer. Caught and banished that sucker.

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