I’ve heard that it is now illegal to move castles in France. The law apparently came about after a man bought a French castle, had it disassembled and moved piece by piece to China, where he reconstructed the entire thing.
This is the picture that flashed in my mind when I read the title of the recent manifesto on the future of news reporting from Michael Schudson and Leonard Downey, Jr.: The Reconstruction of American Journalism
In constructing journalism online are we also just rebuilding old structures?
Incidentally, a similar castle metaphor once gave me an insight into the importance of localized community in the evolving concept of news media. I was participating in a wonderful FUNDAEC course called “Discourse on Social Action” and came to the last chapter. The text pointed out that we should not assume that the over-populated metropolitan cities will be the model of society for the future (especially in this modern age of instant global communication). Perhaps the city center, it went on to suggest, has outlived its usefulness just as the castles and fiefdoms of the European middle ages ceased to serve their purpose. Reading this I could just imagine peasants and nobles surveying their existence and believing civilization would always continue in such way.
This is why the parallels many are drawing between the early days of Television to the current developments in new media resonate with me. Human reticence to change is repeating itself. In the beginning of TV, producers simply broadcast filmed radio shows or stage plays. It wasn’t until later that society could imagine something different. Here are two blogs that illustrate this point better than I have: Newsweek and Alchemical Musings
If you are looking for some of the interesting discourse (i.e. buzz) related to the Reconstruction report, here are some other sources where I started:
Schudson and Downey’s WaPo editorial ‘Finding a new model for news reporting’
NY Times Media & Advertising ‘Online Rally May Sidestep Newspapers’
Poynter Online NewsPay’s ‘Mutualizing News about News’