21st Century Media.
Friday, November 17, 2006
  My Jay Rosen wrap-up.
I didn't get around to it earlier in the week (jury duty), but as I'm sure everyone on earth knows by now, the Journalism of the Web class attended Jay Rosen's talk on NewAssignment.net at Harvard's Berkman Center. The video can be found here, but for the less patient, I've collected some main focal points.

"The more you give away, the more you win."

"Capacity does not create activity. If you build it, they won't necessarily come. You need to do more than that."

"The challenge is for professional journalists to work with their own group of people to break stories."

and, my personal favorite:
"Take, borrow, steal, adapt."

The project seemed to have such bright beginnings, but it seems like many (including Rosen himself) are starting to lose a bit of faith. The lack of funds is definitely a likely cause, but moreover, it's my own personal belief that nothing really comes for free - which leaves me wondering how effective and reliable sources could really be.
I believe you are mistaking a passion for realism with a loss of faith.

I don't want to launch this thing behind any illusions, if I can help it.

And, if you asked whether there were any cases where volunteers on the Net had produced goods of high quality, competitive with products made the regular way, despite the presence of hundreds of people "working for free," the answer, if you did enough digging, would be: yes, there are such cases.

Instead of relying on your personal belief that nothing really comes for free, which you already knew about, you might ask yourself what the participants think they are getting when they work on open source projects. You might learn something.

Read about Katrina Clearinghouse. The people who created it were "working for free." But do you think that's how they defined what they were doing? And is "you get what you pay for?" an appropriate caption for the Katrina Clearinghouse picture?
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