Scrambling in Boston: Welcome to the 21st Century

I’ve been struck by many things in observing the professional observers deal with the amateurs in the new world of networked journalism today in Boston. I’ve got to say that none of this surprises me, neither the positive — next door neighbors live-tweeting events — nor the negative — bad information virtually everywhere.

The always astute Dave Winer tweeted this a little while ago:

 

As I first wrote long ago, we’ve entered the age of postmodernism, the working infrastructure and hierarchies of which are still be woven in the womb of time.

Premodernism: “I believe, therefore I understand.”

Modernism: “I think, therefore I understand.”

Postmodernism: “I participate, therefore I understand.”

I couldn’t have said it better than Dave. And here’s the thing we all have to understand. Those people who wish — no, must — participate or involve themselves, really aren’t as dumb as the curmudgeons would have us or themselves believe. Newsgathering has never been neat or precise. It’s chaotic, but there is a sense of order to it, as journalists execute their search for truth. Think of casting an enormous net around information and cinching it tighter and tighter, as we get closer to our goal. In my 28-year career in news management, I witnessed some real whoppers of mistakes that never made it to air, because we had the luxury of a downstream production deadline. In a crisis, Twitter becomes a listening post for media instead of a broadcast tool, and listening is a new skill that media must acquire.

Some of the stuff that the pros deem violations of the sacred canons when dealing with networked news gathering may, in fact, be necessary evils of the new world. While we sort all that out, it would be incredibly useful (and refreshing) if we stopped taking for granted what’s become the new eyes and ears of information gathering just because they don’t play by the rules that govern the behavior of the few.

As Dave said, “People want to be involved.” Like it or not, they already are.

The Pomo Blog is back in business

Greetings, fellow travelers.

This blog has been sick for nearly three years, but today I can pronounce it healthy and recovered. Long-term readers will recall I was infected by a virus that likely came in via the shared hosting I was unfortunately using at the time. The event corrupted all of my archives at that point and broke everything. While I was able to get it up and running, it wasn’t the same until these last few weeks and months. I’m now on a dedicated Unix server with people I really trust, and all ten years of my archives have been fully restored (3,000+ posts).

Tony Cecala

I want to thank Tony Cecala, Ph.D., Dallas area WordPress guru, and alpha geek for his effort in fixing what was an incredible mess. I’m also taking some advanced classes with Tony and hope to better my skills at using the software that has become the default, go-to CMS for the open source community. I can’t possibly over recommend Tony and his knowledge and experience with WordPress. If you really need an expert (as I did), he’s your guy.

I’ve also been very busy writing other things the past year and haven’t really been able to dedicate the time necessary to serious blogging. It’s looking like that’s about to change, so I promise I’m back with a serious intent to spend more quality time here.

I want to also take a moment to point to what Dave Winer’s doing with tabbed rivers that run on RSS. The future for information distribution lies here, not in privately held profit centers like Facebook or Twitter. I hope to be adding my 2 cents to this important discussion, for nothing less that the future of our industry (and perhaps even press freedom) is at stake.

Thanks for being with me over the last couple of years. Keep coming back.