Today We Are All Journalists

Training print reporters at The Daily Telegraph (UK) to shoot their own video with iPhones

The media is the child of technology.

It was the invention of the printing press that begat newspaper, magazines and books.

The printing press defined how the world of the printed word would work.

It was the invention of radio and TV that begat broadcasting.

The physical limitations and cost of broadcasting would define how radio and TV would work.

That technology is constantly changing.

Up until now, access to a printing press or radio or TV was both complex and expensive.

As a result, few people could actually get access to those media. They could get access as watchers or readers or listeners, but not as content creators. The content for those varied media was created by a small handful of media or news professionals. This was not because these people were any better at it than anyone else, it was simply a function of what the technology could or would allow.

Now, that technology has changed.

In the blink of an eye, the digital revolution has given birth to an Internet that is both global and free, and it has also given birth to remarkable tools that allow anyone to create content -- in text, in video, and soon in live 'broadcasting' also for free.

This is the world of the web and the iPhone.

We can see the first manifestation of this new technology in things like Twitter or Facebook or Youtube or Instagram (and many more).

These information-laden sites are 100% filled by us. Not by professionals, but by us.

This is very important.

There are no professional writers at Facebook or Twitter.

There are also no editors or producers or Executive Producers or Associate editors or anyone else.

Yet they work.

More than 100 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube every minute. By us.

We The People.

So to speak.

Now we come to News. That Holy Grail of society.

Who gets to be a 'journalist'?

Once, that noble profession was limited to a small, select handful of people.

I know because I was one. I was a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Later, I taught there.

But that whole world was a function of a very different technology. One that no longer means anything.

Today, anyone can be a journalist.

In fact, everyone is.

Everyone who contributes to Facebook or Instagram or Youtube or Twitter -- anyone who contributes content to the vast and ever growing sprawl of the information media matrix is a journalist. Today, we are ALL journalists -- and that is no bad thing. In fact, it is a good thing, because the power of gathering,processing and delivering information SHOULD be in 3 billion hands, not 3,000. Or 3 networks.

Every smart phone (and there are now an estimated 2 billion headed for 3 billion) around the world -- every smart phone is a node for content creation -- in video, in text, in photographs, in live streaming. And it should be. Who is more qualified to tell you what is happening in Syria than a Syrian? No matter what side he or she is on. Biased? You bet it is. Everyone (even an American correspondent reporting on Syria from Turkey, who does not speak Arabic or Turkish and who is not even there has a bias. A cultural bias). But, as Louis Brandeis once said, (and here I am paraphrasing), the best solution to bad free press is more free press.

So bring on the Free Press.

The more the better.

The funny thing is that this whole idea scares the crap out of 'professional journalists'.

They wish to hold onto their monopoly on information.

Its the height of irony. The only thing a journalist is scared of, it turns out, is a real free press.

Which is where we are fast headed.

Copyright 2015 Michael Rosenblum