Public Media Comes of Age

As top-down journalism fights to redefine itself in our increasingly-connected media environment, I thought I would highlight two (closely-linked) projects related to Public Media.

Public Media (or, citizen media) has obviously proven its journalistic worth in the last few years, yet still suffers from a lack of mainstream acceptance. These two studies provide some insight on how this may change in the next little while, and which organizations offer best-practices for us all to learn from.

Note that both of these Public Media resources benefit from the deft hand of Jessica Clark, the Future of Public Media Project director, with collaboration from the Center for Social Media’s director, Pat Aufderheide.

The first study is the white paper “Future of Public Media” created by the Center for Social Media at American University. This white paper was created in order to review public media in all its developing forms, platform uses, and structures, and offer some direction for ways forward. An engaging read, and worth checking out, as it advocates a serious look at Public Media and its role in maintaining a vibrant, democratic society.

The second project, found on PBS’s MediaShift site, is a round-up of sorts called “Eight Public Media Projects that are Doing it Right” and highlights (as the title suggests) a variety of new media / news 2.0 sites that are redefining the way news is researched, reported, and consumed. These projects, by their very nature, call into question the rules that have governed mainstream media for decades, and shows how Public Media outlets are finding footholds in the cracking foundation of top-down journalism.

These two reports hopefully show how the democratization of media tools can (and should) lead to the democratization of the media itself. The Pandora’s Box has been opened, and the media’s best hope for survival is found in learning from how (the common) people are consuming, sharing, and yes, creating the news.

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