Tim Porter calls this the Age of the Journalist, and nearly every day he is proven right by some new web site, blog or other initiative that puts content from and center, and traditional media conglomerates in the rear-view mirror.
One project not to miss i-Witness, which “aims to help journalists worldwide get to grips with many controversial but often under-reported information society topics — from bridging the digital divide to controlling the Internet.” The site was launched in advance of the World Summit on the Information Society, being held Nov. 16-18 in Tunisia (i-Witness also plans to blog from the conference).
For journalists, the site is a treasure trove – they will be able to access briefing papers by topic, an online experts database and researched links to background information. Journalists can also contribute their own views and reporting experiences.
For others, i-Witness is a reminder that news is global and not owned by anyone or any place, including the United States. And while for most of us the information society is as close as breathing, i-Witness is concerned for the many in the developing world who are in danger of being left behind.
Moreover, i-Witness believes that the media – professional, citizen or otherwise –“have a crucial role to play in not only reporting on the information society but also in actually shaping it.”
“If the information society is all about exchange and flow of information, then the media is best placed to invoke this debate given that this is what their business is about,” says Murali Shanmugavelan of Panos London, the organization that developed the site. “The media needs to question key aspects of the information society, such as who controls information, who has rights to information and how profit influences the agenda.”
The Age of the Journalist, indeed.
(hat tip: Robin Good)