January 26, 2010

Crosspost: “Infrastructure vs. Institutions” via Free Press

The good folks at Free Press gave me a li’l soapbox on their SaveTheNews.org blog. I took the opportunity to mouth off about journalism institutions vs infrastructure, a familiar topic to readers of Illuminated Media. Here’s a teaser — read the rest on SaveTheNews:

Institutions or Infrastructure? The Real Opportunity for Online Journalism and Democracy
Josh Wilson, January 26, 2010

This is a guest post by Josh Wilson of Newsdesk.org, a commercial-free, non-politicized news source covering important but overlooked issues from around the world.

Want to save the news? Stop worrying about journalism institutions, and start worrying about journalists.

Much of the discussion about media and journalism is about institutions and their relationships with citizens. The issues — that journalism institutions must be transparent, accountable, and provide real value and relevance to the community — are clear enough.

The problem is, the Internet is not about institutions — by which I mean social organizations with a gestalt that is singular and self-prioritizing. Rather, it’s about peer relationships — the egalitarian multiplicity with common goals and mutual needs.

This idea of peer-to-peer relationships is built into the physical architecture of the Internet itself. When you talk about institutions as singular, therefore, you talk about intermediaries that more often than not get in the way of peer relationships …