Clay Shirky: The Shock of Inclusion

“If you were in the news business in the 20th century, you worked in a kind of pipeline, where reporters and editors would gather facts and observations and turn them into stories, which were then committed to ink on paper or waves in the air, and finally consumed, at the far end of those various modes of transport, by the audience.

What’s going away, from the pipeline model, isn’t the importance of news, or the importance of dedicated professionals. What’s going away is the linearity of the process, and the passivity of the audience. What’s going away is a world where the news was only made by professionals, and consumed by amateurs who couldn’t do much to produce news on their own, or to distribute it, or to act on it en masse.

We are living through a shock of inclusion, where the former audience is becoming increasingly intertwined with all aspects of news, as sources who can go public on their own, as groups that can both create and comb through data in ways the professionals can’t, as disseminators and syndicators and users of the news.”

I pulled the paragraphs above from a longer essay by Professor Shirky.

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