Forgive me for using an American commentator to help explain what BayBuzz is all about. But this article by online guru Dave Morgan provides such relevant context that I can’t resist.
Below are some excerpts from his article, but I urge you to click here and read the whole piece. Because BayBuzz is just one reflection of what you can expect to see in New Zealand as the economics of media change … and more political and social activists here become skilled in using the available online tools.
Previewing his column, Morgan says:
“It is about the watchdog role of media and my concerns about who will fill that role for us in the future, as traditional media companies — newspapers, local broadcasters and news magazines — become less and less able to do so.
“It is plain that these companies are shrinking, and that many will go away … there hasn’t yet been enough discussion about who out there will relentlessly watch and report for us on governments and courts and crime and business and our neighborhoods and the environment.
“While most people focus on the high-profile role that the media plays in exposing events like Watergate, the vast majority of media’s Fourth Estate role happens in relative obscurity. Take government records, for example. Just because some government records are called “public” doesn’t automatically make them available to the public. Someone has to fight for access to them. Someone has to find them. Someone has to copy them. Someone has to interpret them. Someone has to report them. Someone has to publish them. And then, those someones have to do it all over again, day after day, month after month, year after year …
“I think that our new media watchdogs will look more like craigslist or Google or Facebook than they will newspapers or news magazines or evening news shows. I can imagine new journalists — maybe trench-savvy citizen journalists — building specialized search engines or mash-ups that crawl public records and permit citizens to dig and find just what they’re looking for, and then create mash-ups of their own with maps, graphs and other databases.
“I can imagine citizen-to-citizen information exchanges like craigslist where these new journalists can post these findings and connect to others with relevant information, compare notes and coordinate efforts. I imagine these new journalists will use blog platforms to publish this information and create comment-driven discussions of their findings with others. I imagine they will use photo-sharing sites to upload and share images and graphics that help tell their story. I imagine they will use video distribution platforms like YouTube to distribute videos of their interviews or videos of public meetings and events as well as their own commentary. I imagine they will use meeting and event organization platforms like MeetUp to create face-to-face meetings of other folks that care. I imagine some will use self-publishing book platforms like Lulu to publish both print and e-books filled with their research and commentary.”
I don’t think most elected officials at the local level have a clue as to what is going to happen … the intense scrutiny they and their decisions will face, the transparency that will be forced upon them, the accountability that will be demanded by an informed public.
But make no mistake, it’s coming. And BayBuzz is just a taste.