Saturday, September 05, 2009

Game theory for minority issues in Journalism

Listening to talks has the effect of resurrecting old fermented and often forgotten ideas. Sometimes it orientates us towards new ones.

Jeff Jarvis was addressing the Guardian group asking the essence of the newspaper. I couldn't finish the vid before being called for a meeting (I should do) but it re-awoke old thoughts.

I had a big itch when I was in broadcasting. It got scratched, but I knew the system well enough to know there's not much that could be done about it, save the "this is ethnic reporting week" for the year ahead.

If you're a minority in the UK, and yes I'm talking race and culture, but not excluding social issues, you can expect little coverage from the main stream press. Rightly so, I argue as a matter of demographics and economics.

The net and social capital via Networks could have neutered this.

In many ways you could say they have. You can search anywhere online for issues of say knife attacks, to classicism in the media and you'll find something, that in the good ol days was nothing more than a crusty press release filed away from sight in forward planning.

But the snag is, if you can call it that, these issue online are confined to the backend of google, worthy of more attention within social networks.

It's a conundrum isn't it? The overall rating of an article; it's argument, its validity and reciprocity (it's come back) is generously dependent on strong articulate social networks, or at least is going that way.

The role of newspapers
Jeff raised the point to the Guardian folks about embracing the blogger into their network. You may not be an employer, but an affiliate employer. Forget the hoops you have to jump through with HR for the moment and consider how those at the eye of their own networks can open a channel onto a wider platform such as the Guardian.

It's an idea which is shrieking to happen and it will at some point purely on economics alone-the economics of people. Imagine the conversation once reserved for DJs and national celebrities.

"Er so what's your numbers?"
"half a million".

"And what about Socanet"? ie social network
"some 100,000"

These could be tweets and blogs respectively. If you're pulling in those and write like Cooke, there's an editor and ad person wanting to talk to you. Just not yet perhaps, but soon.

On Tuesday I'm in South Africa presenting/training and some at “The International Multimedia Workshops for Ethical Reporting on the World’s Most Under-Reported Issues” at Rhodes University, Grahamstown.

The key word here is "Under Reported Issues". Just how do we empower those who haven't a chance to get their story told and how can they tap into more affluent ( both perhaps in knowledge, but definitely wealth) to address their pertinent issues?

Zimbabwe is still suffering, conflict rages in central Africa, the streets of london are still lined with those unable to take care of themselves, young people are still harming each other with dangerous weapons.

The power of reportage, lifting that anti is the least one can do. Tapping into more matured social networks is a prerequisite. Newsnight, the BBC's flagship news programme that I worked on in the early 90s, reported this week, that Keynes was back in vogue.

In this scenario perhaps some form of intervention is necessary, too minority issues as well