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Journalism vs news

The issue now facing newspapers and other forms of traditional journalism is NOT one of medium. Though all the arguments are framed as such, it is NOT a war of Twitter versus News Corp (though it could be).

Since the inception of the newspaper, journalists have confounded what they do with the reporting of news. I would argue that these are two different things, and the rise in popularity of user-generated content has helped us to identify the clearly obvious difference.

Journalists are storytellers. They find facts, contextualize them, and - whether they intend to or not - editorialize on them. What they do is generate narratives about things that happen. They DO NOT "report the news."

News is a steady stream of facts and observations about current events. New media, i.e. the internet and especially Twitter, have demonstrated that the source of these facts and observations are irrelevant; anyone can "report the news."

What this presents is a solution that adds value to both forms of delivery:

- Journalists continue to analyze, editorialize and curate the facts that are being reported. They continue to tell us stories about what's happening. AND, they do the more important job of providing context and historical memory in their storytelling (even more so than they do now)!

- Users/Prosumers/Us Regular Folks continue to observe events, share their observations, and report the "facts" to the best of our ability. The beauty of this steady, thick stream of individual observations is that no ONE observation might be "true" or "factual," but MANY observations that overlap can provide the most accurate fact-checking service possible.

BOTH of these activities provide value, but the combination of the two DEMANDS of us that we, the readers, question the source, consider the context, and remember our own historical narrative, placing the NEWS into the frame of reference which we all create already. That's how we discover the most sensible, consistent version of events. And it does NOT assume that any one version is the TRUTH*.

* Because the TRUTH is a whole different thing...

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