Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
September 1, 2010 7:15 AM

The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth

There is a reason why traditional media professionals will have a hard time making the transition to a new media world.

Just the other day I got into a debate with a seasoned traditional journalist about what the new media means. This individual is still in a highly coveted and well-respected position, so I was surprised by their core thesis as to why we can't trust new media. Ultimately, it boils down to the cold, hard fact that new media shows little to no signs of accountability. Traditional media (newspapers, magazines, radio and television) check their sources. There is a process to how news is created, curated, edited and then produced for mass consumption.

The Internet is an equalized place where any one lunatic's opinion resides on par with those of the professionals.

Afterall, you can't trust anything you read on Wikipedia, but you can be fairly certain that what you're getting out of The New York Times is accurate. Is WikiLeaks the future of media or pure evil? It's an easy debate to get sucked into. It's easy to start discussing how often the respected traditional media gets it wrong (check out Regret The Error by my good friend, Craig Silverman). It's easy to look at the owners of these large media outlets and make a direct correlation between their political leanings and the partisan slant of their media outlets. It's easy to say that the mass populous needs us (because without us they will believe anything and everything). It's easy to not like, respect or understand something that threatens your very vocation.

We are moving from a world of fact to a world of opinion.

Maybe that is the new reality. Maybe that is the new truth. Maybe we are moving from a world of "fact" (as traditional media had delivered it) to a world of "opinion" (where Blogs, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and more act as a platform to spread ideas, but it's incumbent on the reader to check the sources for themselves). There were always three sides to every story (and a couple more beyond that), so in a world where any one individual can publish a thought in text, images, audio and video instantly (and for free) to the entire world, we are in dire need of a new definition for the words "media," "journalism," "credible source" and more.

That is a paradigm shift.

What if society has already dictated this creed? What if society is fine moving from this world of fact to a world of opinion? Who is the mass media to say to us that a book review in The New York Times is any more credible or relevant to us than the one that Sarah from Carefree, Arizona posted to Amazon? Are the masses too stupid and lazy to make up their own mind?

What's good for us, being fed the truth through mass media or the masses of opinions from all over the place or a hybrid of both?

By Mitch Joel