New Civilization News - Category: Broadcasting, Media    
 News Sources2 comments
picture 27 Mar 2005 @ 23:12, by ming. Broadcasting, Media
As to where the news is..

What would be good news sources for a networked society that has different priorities than the old fashioned media?

An oldfashioned newspaper or TV station would have a line in with the frontline for various kinds of news. There'll be somebody listening to the police radio channels. There'll be somebody at the government capitol, or the local town hall, trying to keep up with the issues that pass through. Somebody watches and analyzes the stock market. Somebody will be monitoring the major cases in the court house. There will be a helicopter that can go where some action is reported and get video from the air. There will be reporters sent out to war zones, catastrophe areas, and that kind of thing. Plus if that particular news organization doesn't have the resources itself, it will get wires from bigger news organizations that do it.

But even with all of that, journalists are busy, and they often need to have a story today or tomorrow. So very often they're merely passing on what somebody else said or wrote. Their story might simply be the summary of some report somebody did. It might be a rewrite of somebody's press release. The key points of somebody's book. An interview with somebody who seems to know what is going on. Probably only rarely is there time or interest in actually getting to the bottom of what is going on, or double-checking everything. So the mosaic of a certain general image is being presented, even though it might not really be the truth, or the most important things to know. Just because everybody's flocking to roughly the same sources.

So, say you were a blogger, who wanted to write about interesting things going on, and you wanted more primary sources, to maybe discover a different picture than what you were fed, where would you go? Do you know the difference between primary sources and secondary and tertiary?

Let's say there is something going on somewhere. A tsunami, a war. You'd want to hear from the local people who're there. The locals, the people on the ground, the people who're plugged into the action. And, indeed, if people like that have blogs, that's some of the most interesting stuff. Salam Pax, an Iraqi inside Iraq before the invasion. Kevin Sites, photo journalist in Iraq.

Back when NATO was bombing Yugoslavia it made a big impression on me that I could chat online with a friend in Beograd, in-between the bombing raids and power failures. You usually get a very different story than what appears in the normal media.

But how do you find these people when you're looking? Maybe there will just be enough bloggers that you'll always be able to get the real story from the ground, I don't know. Or maybe others will find such stories interesting enough that they'll be passed on to you somehow. But it might be nice with a more organized way of finding a local voice in some particular area.

A problem with a lot of news is that it is a little haphazard what you'll hear, and you might not get any follow-up at all. Like, somebody might write an article about some promising new discovery or invention. And very often, that's all you'll ever hear about it. Nobody wrote an article as a follow-up, a year later, telling you what actually happened. Somebody invented super-cheap solar cells, discovered the ruins of Atlantis, or whatever. Sounds very interesting. And then you never hear about it again. I want to hear what didn't work out about it. They were mistaken, they didn't get funding - what happened? And the trouble is that that's very hard to find out if nobody wrote an article about it. Or unless I had a lot of time on my hand to research it and call people and try to find out. I certainly couldn't do that with everything I might be interested in. But a network of people could, if there were an organized way of remembering open issues.

Statistical data can be a source of news, if you have enough of it. You could find out what is better, what is worse, which trends seem to be related to each other, etc. That is, if you had access to the data in a fairly consistent and timely manner. It shouldn't be hard for you to check for yourself how it is going with global warming, whether the economy is better or worse, how different parts of the world are doing. But it is, for some reason. I don't know anybody doing that. We seem content just reading an article about some several year old statistical report, telling us what it means. I'm sure there are all sorts of issues involved in gathering and normalizing data, but it really shouldn't be unthinkable that I could look for myself. Maybe I can and I just haven't plugged into the right places. I mean, people who're into stock markets will watch all sorts of stats continually. Consumer price indexes, unemployment rates, from month to month. They just don't seem to produce the kind of data I'd find interesting.

There are all sorts of people who're at the forefront of something interesting happening. Scientists, explorers, activists, aid workers, government officials. Should I hope for that they'll all have blogs and that they'll give us the straight dope about what is going on? Maybe. Blogging gives a lot of reasons to hope for hearing the truth more often. But, still, a lot of people who do important things are too busy to chat about it. Or they're in organizations that don't believe in sharing it freely. Or they're in a system where what they're doing will have to be peer reviewed and published before it is mentioned publically.

Really, I'm just looking for what channels I should be listening on, to get what's really worth knowing, that's new and enlightening and constructive. It is still a bit of a toss up, whether I'll miss it or not. The possibilities for accessing more primary sources are advancing. But so are the possibilities for painting phoney virtual realities.

Or maybe the answer is to make one's own news. Instead of flipping through the channels, trying to figure out what is going on, make your own channel. Make something worthwhile happen, and report on it. The best way of predicting the future is to create it. The world is waiting for you and I to do our part.  More >

 Where's the News?9 comments
picture 27 Mar 2005 @ 02:49, by ming. Broadcasting, Media
I'm somewhat addicted to news. The trouble is just that there never is any.

Oh, I don't watch the TV news or read newspapers all that much, although I sometimes enjoy both. I mostly read online news. I check various major news sites, even though there usually isn't much new. More interesting are various major blogs and bookmark aggregation sites. I'm currently feeling a little too busy to check through all the blogs in my blog aggregator, so most days I just check a few key places. Which often have a few things of interest. Even if the same stories often appear in several places. You know, Boing Boing is great, but they obviously read Metafilter too. Or vice versa. Loads of blogs and bookmark sites end up mentioning the same stuff. Which is part of how the blogosphere works, so it is not a bad thing.

But there's not much news. Or a lot of it is old. I get various newsletters in e-mail, people who gather together the most unique or interesting stories in the news. And by the time they get around to sending it out, I've heard all of them before. And it is not that I really spend a lot of time looking everywhere. It is just that the available stories move around so fast, and get automatically filtered through the selections of many bloggers, that they're yesterday's news when somebody does their weekly newsletter.

It is also that I usually don't consider news news. Oh, I do try to pay some attention to what various governments are doing, and where there's a war, and what the latest disasters are. But it is not all that interesting. The better news is usually when somebody finds a new twist on something, or writes something inspiring, or discovers something new and creative one can do. I almost find it more fruitful to search for completely random things in Google than I do trying to read news.

Likewise, I find it more interesting when somebody else does the same, and discovers something interesting. Doesn't have to be google, any source is fine. I'd rather hear what you surprisingly found in your attic or some off the wall idea you had in the bus than to read the same recooked news of the same old things happening a little more.

We too easily end up going in circles. Probably some kind of design problem in the brain or something. The real interesting stuff is the unexpected angles. Lateral thinking. Creative lightning strikes.

New input. Where does it come from? So much is recooked that it can be hard to see where the new stuff is. Most news infrastructure is broken. Blogging is a ray of hope at least, even if a lot of it just is about quoting each other. It is at least a medium for interesting stuff to propagate, even when it doesn't just support the status quo world view of people in power. Bloggers typically prefer reporting something different. Real news does have a substrate to grow in.

But it is sort of odd. The world is moving faster and faster, and there's more and more information, and new things are being developed every day. How can there be a scarcity of things to report on? There probably isn't. But there might be some disconnects there, so it is difficult to see what is really going on, because there's too much, and lots of information travels in old ways that haven't caught up with our accelerating evolution.

What's new today? Where do I look to find out? Who do I ask? Where's the pulse?

I'm looking for signs of life.  More >

 The ever present mirror of fear2 comments
29 Oct 2004 @ 12:47, by fleer. Broadcasting, Media
I have had this general idea about the aftermath of the cold war that somehow there was a system that needed a climate of fear. Seeing the BBC programme The Power of Nightmares clarified my perception.  More >

 OutFoxed16 comments
picture19 Jul 2004 @ 03:46, by jazzolog. Broadcasting, Media
It is the very energy of thought
Which keeps thee from thy God.

---John Henry Newman

The thing we tell of can never be found by seeking, yet only seekers find it.

---Bayazid Bistami

Each man is in his Spectre's power
Until the arrival of that hour,
When his Humanity awake
And cast his Spectre into the Lake.

---William Blake

Clockwise from top left, Brit Hume, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Page Hopkins

I'm a neutral observer, of course, here to give you a fair and balanced report. But some people would say that Fox News Channel is nothing more than the private right-wing propaganda machine of a sneaky right-wing billionaire who is -- now these are just the facts, people -- not an American at all but some kind of Down Under, funny-accented, shrimp-on-the-barbie-eating, crocodile-hunting, profoundly un-American Australian, for goodness' sake.

And while I know Australia is not obviously very much like France -- treasonous, untrustworthy France -- let's look under the surface a little, OK? Do you know what one of Australia's top agricultural products is? That's right, it's wine. Draw your own conclusions, people, that's all I ask. And when you get right down to it, isn't there something French about Shep Smith, if you know what I mean? Isn't that "mousse" in his hair? Does that sound like an American word to you? Isn't there something about him that suggests the French government of, say, 1943? Something a little Vichy French? Nazi-collaborator French, possibly? I don't know, I'm only asking. You decide.  More >

 Outfoxed: a look behind the curtains at Rupert Murdoch´s Empire2 comments
picture15 Jul 2004 @ 22:48, by fleer. Broadcasting, Media
It looks like the journalists at Fox news aren´t so independent as they would present it to the public.

Outfoxed presents indepth interviews with former employees (news anchors and producers) at Fox news and describes how things really are run at Fox news. Not from at journalist point of view. But from what I could tell from a personal point of view of some close friend of Rupert Murdoch at his headquater.

Robert Greenwald is the man behind the DVD, which activist are showing at houseparties around US.

Clips at
Houseparties organising at  More >

 The Trouble With Islam10 comments
15 Jun 2004 @ 20:19, by ov. Broadcasting, Media
On Sunday afternoon there was a very inspiring interview on the radio by Irshad Manji who was promoting her book The Trouble With Islam. The trouble being that fundamantalism has gone mainstream and that it is intolerant towards dissent. When questioned on the point that this applies to all fundamentalism, Irshad replied that this was true but that with Islam there was less seperation between religion and government compared to either Christianity or Judaism.

In spite of this Irshad considers herself a devout Moslem and thinks that the vast majority of Moslems are moderates like herself and would like to see the fundamentalists out of power but are afraid to say much. Irshad has no fear, is quicker than a gun slinger and sharper than a lazer scapel. She distinquishes between spirituality and religious. She also considers it her spiritual obligations to stand up for what is written in the Islamic holy books and speak up against the fundamentalist position. She is a big inspiration to a lot of fellow Muslims who are starting to question the established authorities and thinks that the religion will survive this and emerge even stronger and more in alignment with the original text. She is a positive example of spirit and integrity.

Perhaps the best overview of her opinions can be found on the letters section of her website. The following response is but one example. The entire site is worth reading.

"Ultimately, I do believe in submitting to God's will. What I do NOT believe in is submitting to human beings who claim to know God's will. How do I reconcile these two things? With this bridge: God wills all of us to have the freedom to explore.

I take that idea from the Koran itself. As I explain in my book, the Koran contains three recurring messages. First, only God knows fully the truth of anything. Second, God alone can punish unbelievers, which makes sense given that only God knows what true belief is. Human beings must warn against corrupt practices, but that's all we can do to encourage piety - warn. The third recurring message follows from the first two: We humans must have the humility to be open to debate. Which means we're free to ponder God's intention for us without any obligation to toe a dictated line. 'Let there be no compulsion in religion,' states a voice in chapter 2 of the Koran. 'Unto your religion, unto me my religion' echoes another voice in chapter 109. And in-between, there's this: 'If God had pleased, He would have made you all one people. But He has done otherwise...' Ain't that the truth!

By my reading of the Koran, we should not only enjoy the freedom to explore; we have to ensure that this freedom exists for everyone. Anything less undermines God's jurisdiction as the supreme judge and jury. As a Muslim, I worship the majestic and enigmatic God, not the self-appointed arbiters and packagers of His will."

I'm going to adopt this next quote for my own I liked so much.

"Sects are led by people. But I don’t worship people. I worship only one entity – God. If that means I’m going to hell, then I can’t imagine a better reason to burn."

In the radio interview she talks about the problem not being religion itself but fundamentalism. Another difficulty was that since Islam was established after both Christianity and Judaism, and incorporated and considered the ideas of both of these religions it was considered by Muslims to be the more refined and accurate description of God's will.

The problem with Islam is the same problem with all religions, namely the fundamentalist war mongers that hold the majority of the population hostage. This is true if is is Islamic radicals, or Jewish zionist, or Christian neo-conservatives.

I think Irshad may be the source for positive reform of Islamic policy and for empowering the people to overcome their fear, stand up to the tyrants, and reclaim their religion. The world needs a lot more people like Irshad in all of the different religions. You go, girl.  More >

 Disruptive Media1 comment
6 Jan 2003 @ 20:34, by ming. Broadcasting, Media
I get this stack of computer industry news magazines every week, and the past few months I haven't gotten around to reading them much. And now, reading InfoWorld today, I realize the world changed while I looked the other way. Or, rather, I was looking at where the action was, and now InfoWorld reflects it. This issue is about Disruptive Technologies, and I realize that I know most of the people saying anything important there from their weblogs, or from their friends' weblogs. Excellent frontpage interview with Ray Ozzie by Jon Udell and Steve Gillmor (Dan Gillmor's brother) about Groove and collaborative software. And in other places mentions of Dave Winer, Doc Searls, Tim O'Reilly, Lawrence Lessig, column by Robert Cringely and more. My point being that I read those people's weblogs regularly, and much of the contents of that magazine is what they've been discussing publically between themselves in the past few months. And weblogs have already changed the media world a good deal. A number of people have mentioned that it was quite clear that Trent Lott (former U.S. Senate Majority Leader) was brought down by bloggers, who spread around his racist comments that mainstream media was planning on ignoring.  More >

 Information and Experience7 comments
picture 7 Dec 2002 @ 16:50, by ming. Broadcasting, Media
One thing John Perry Barlow pointed out is that people today often are unable to differentiate between information and experience. For example, the murder rate has been plummeting all over the U.S. for the past 20 years or so, and it is statistically very, very unlikely that you will be murdered. But the news media is reporting as if it is an all-pervasive problem. And a great many people will act as though it is, walking around every day being afraid of being murdered, despite that they live in a peaceful neighborhood, mowing the lawn and going to the store like everybody else, and nothing violent ever happens there. Their experience is totally different from the information given, but yet they believe the information, because it is delivered with a certain intensity.

Same thing with war in Iraq. Most Americans are in no possible way actually endangered by whatever weapons Saddan Hussein controls half-way around the planet. But the news tells them that it is a very real and imminent danger. So they go around being concerned about it, trying to think of solutions, as if it were really a part of their lives. The information is taken for real, even though their experience doesn't back it up in any way.

People forget to validate the information. I'm not just talking about validating and verifying the sources of the information, in terms of being good information sources. But simply that you check with your own life whether it fits with your experience. Does it match what I'm seing in front of me in my life? Not what I'm seeing on other channels, not what I hear people talking about, but what I'm actually seeing, hearing, feeling as actual events in the real world in front of me.

In all my life, I can only think of one person that I met, superficially, who later on got murdered. In that case by a family member. That's a very, very low percentage based on all the people I've met. It doesn't match up with the information the TV news gives me, that it is one of the biggest problems in my world.

Another side of the issue is that for many people, the information in the media might be preferable to the real thing. My 16 year old son is quite inclined to express that he finds it pointless to go to some event that he can watch on TV. Why go to the circus or to the Grand Canyon, if a TV show can get all the best shots, and edit it into a snappy format that never is boring, and where you don't have to drive for hours and stand in line. Is information better than experience? I think not, but many kids in the video game generation might have a different idea about it.  More >

 The Magic of Harry Potter4 comments
30 Nov 2002 @ 21:09, by craiglang. Broadcasting, Media
I finally saw the second Harry Potter movie tonight. It seems to have a wonderful emotional appeal to it. While the first movie was an excellent introduction to the series, the second movie does a great job of bringing out the deeper themes.

It seems to tickle an archetypal desire in the soul to do wizardry - to transcend the rationalistic constraints that seem to bind us to a material lifestyle. It's as if, deep in our memories, there remains the knowledge of how to do something just a little bit beyond - how to transcend just one little physical law.

Watching that movie was reminiscent having a dream where you could fly, or of having some form of extraordinary power. And when the dream is over, one is left with the feeling that if you wish it, if you do the right thing, and if your aim is pure, the gift could be within your grasp.

I've heard it said that prehistory is analogous to the subconscious of humanity. Most historical legends do seem to trace back to times before this cycle of written history - back into our civilization's collective subconscious. And so, perhaps buried deep within our collective soul, there is that little glimmer of the extraordinary, just waiting to be awakened again.

And I think that movies like the Harry Potter series, The Lord of the Rings, etc. take us, if only for a while, back to that wonderful realm where magic is the true way of the world.  More >

 Pacifica Campaign0 comments
picture19 Nov 2001 @ 15:49, by ming. Broadcasting, Media
Activist groups amongst the listeners of four progressive U.S. radio stations have led an ongoing battle against the takeover of the stations by corporate or self-serving interests. The spectrum owned by the stations is worth a lot of money, and the message on the air from those stations is something that many corporate forces would prefer to extinguish. So, a long succession of people have managed to get on the board of Pacifica, with the sole purpose of either shutting them down, or profiting from the sale of the stations. See updates here: [link] The latest good news is that the whole board has now been forced to resign, and it seems like groups representing the listeners will finally get something to say.  More >

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