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May 03, 2006

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Bill Densmore

Rebecca:

In our "Future of Journalism" class at MCLA, Ethan gave a terrific guided tour of Global Voices Online and ended with a question for our class: "Is this journalism?" That's when we drew the comparison to what you're doing to bring grassroots voices to the attention of the world's mainstream media (and the public). Our observation was that this is what weekly and small daily newspapers used to do -- cajole, beg, schmooze and praise stringers and free-lancers into covering what used to be called "chicken-dinner news." Sure, it was cheap to do it that way rather than pay union-scale reporters. But it connected the papers with the public.

These town correspondents never thought of themselves as "journalists" -- too fancy a word. They were the first cut. But without that (because of media consolidation) the raw material that sugars down to major news is lost. Local online news communities -- and Global Voices Online -- are recreating the functional equivalent of those town correspondents.

This "future of journalism" conversation will be continued at the first Media Giraffe Project roundtable summit, June 28-July 1, 2006 at the University of Massachusetts with Helen Thomas as one of our keynotes. See: http://www.mediagiraffe.org/wiki/

Mark Rosenkranz

The book "White Male Privilege" could help in regards to understanding perspective. Amazon.co.uk has a synopsis.

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