A world where all utterances are putatively available makes “he said, she said” journalism an increasingly irresponsible form, less a way of balancing reasonable debate and more a way of evading the responsibility for informing the public. Seeking truth and reporting it is becoming less about finding consensus, which there is simply less of in the world, and more about publicly sorting the relevant actors from the irrelevant ones. They can no longer fall back on “experts,” as if every professor or researcher is equally trustworthy. via Shirky: ‘We are indeed less willing to agree on what constitutes truth’ | Poynter.. A very provocative post by Clay Shirky hit Poynter a few days ago, and I’ve been meaning to post[…]

Argument, of course, is the human condition, but public argument is not. Indeed, in most places for most of history, publicly available statements have been either made or vetted by the ruling class, with the right of reply rendered impractical or illegal or both. Expansion of public speech, for both participants and topics, is generally won only after considerable struggle, and of course any such victory pollutes the sense of what constitutes truth from the previous era, a story that runs from Martin Luther through Ida Tarbell to Mario Savio, the drag queens outside Stonewall, and Julian Assange. via Shirky: ‘We are indeed less willing to agree on what constitutes truth’ | Poynter..

Journalists use an outdated search engine called telephone. Mostly it is used for point-to-point information transfer, but it often has many of the characteristics of a good VPN, allowing you to tunnel through institutional boundaries and to get a kind of social port scan. A channel with even higher latencies is the Freedom of Information Request, a query run against government knowledge which often conflicts with their internal security policy.
 Unlike developers, journalists have yet to adopt open source. Teams of journalists rarely open their work, so that it is difficult to find plug-ins for your story. Legacy stories are rarely documented, so journalists end up covering the same story from the same angle. You cannot fork an existing story!
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