New Media Ecosystem Flowchart

kentbye's picture
| | | | |

I refined my vision of the new media ecosystem at the Online Social Networking Conference 2005, and the following flowchart ties together a lot of my thoughts.

I've written probably close to 8,000 words about this chart across over 40 different posts at OSN2005. I hope to synthesize and summarize these posts as soon as I receive permission from some of the other participants to include their insights and questions.

Below are some additional notes about the chart.

[UPDATE: I added more context to this post after receiving links from Rebecca MacKinnon and David Weinberger.]

This chart shows how I plan on:

* Coordinating decentralized journalism
* Combining the objective with the subjective
* Combining the alternative with the mainstream press
* Combining professional with non-professional journalism
* Incorporating deception detection algorithms into journalism
* Using non-linear visualization techniques
* And how wikis, blogs, and online social networks tie it all

* The Analytical Techniques incorporated in the flowchart are here

* A Description of the Deception Detection Heuristics are here

* How I plan on applying this New Media Ecosystem to the production of The Echo Chamber documentary is here

* More context on Wilber's Integral Philosophy and how it applies to Journalism is here, here, here and here.

Adam Leonard is Co-Director of the Integral Practice Center at Ken Wilber's Integral Institute. He's is working with me on implementing Integral Theory into this New Media Ecosystem.

His master's level thesis is called "Integral Communication," and he's allowed me to post it online here to make available to the world. I've posted a brief overview and roadmap here.

Leonard takes a first crack of integrating the seven major traditions of communication theories -- Rhetorical, Semiotic, Phenomenological, Systems, Sociopsychological, Sociocultural, and Critical traditions. I welcome any feedback from other communication scholars and others in how to comprehensively include represent all ontological worldspaces in this New Media Ecosystem.

I am also in the process of converting this site over to Drupal / CivicSpace. I'm still building the infrastructure and figuring out how to implement for the production of my collaborative, open source documentary on the pre-war failings of the mainstream news media.

- - - - - - -

This chart was roughly laid out according to Wilber's Integral Approach and AQAL map with the invisible inner world on the left and the outer objective world on the right. The individual is on the top and the collective at the bottom. I don't think I've precisely followed Integral Theory, but I did overlay this chart trying with Wilber's AQAL in order to figure out how to incorporate the inner/outer & individual/collective.

The analysts, op-ed writers, and bloggers on the left are all involved in making subjective interpretations of the observable facts. The researchers on the right are combing through wire service beat reports and other public record sources to aggregate all of the objective evidence.

One of the hardest things for journalists to do is to compare political rhetoric with actual political behavior that happens over time. Journalists are supposed to report on what's new, and they have a harder time synthesizing historical sets of data into a collective picture of reality. There is no good way for journalists a collective range of facts that indicate contradictions between stated intentions and observed behavior.

Heuer's Analysis of Competing Hypotheses is one way to integrate political rhetoric with behavior. In the chart above, I was thinking that Hypothesis(1) could be something like "The Bush Administration's Stated Intention was to Disarm Iraq Peacefully through the United Nations Weapons Inspectors."

This was their rhetoric, but did their actual behavior reflect this? Hypothesis(2) could be something like "The Bush Administration's Actual Intention is that they plan on using the United Nations as a pretext for war regardless of what the Security Council says."

In the end, the actual behavior of the United States Government fit closer to Hypothesis(2) than Hypothesis(1). I tried to indicate this by showing that Facts 2,3,4 & 5 represented actual behavior, and that the actual behavior of the Bush Administration would indicate that there was more evidence for a hypothesis that is competing with their stated intentions. This type of large magnitude of inconsistency would exceed the Deception Detection threshold, and allow the journalist to transcend the limitations of He Said / She Said & Pyramid Style reporting -- They would have enough factual evidence to make strong conclusions such as "The Bush Administration says that they are trying to peacefully disarm Iraq, but their behavior really indicates that they are 'Hellbent on War' regardless of what the United Nation's Security Council says."

Of course they wouldn't have to use phrases like "Hellbent on War", but I'm just giving this as an actual example of what journalists think and what they can report. For example, CBS White House Reporter Bill Plante told us in an interview, "But if you take it as a given, as I've already suggested to you that we did, that the administration was hellbent on going to war, then you could only point out the steps that were being taken down that path."

Really? [Update: This is the exact type of passive observational mentality that Jay Rosen talks about in his excellent post called "The Abyss of Observation Alone"]

Why is it so tough for the press to piece together all of the inconsistencies between the Bush Administration's behavior with their stated intentions leading up to the war? It is partly due to the lack of systematic methodologies for aggregating the public record in a centralized fashion such as a Heuer ACH matrix above.

Using the ACH matrix allows for the aggregation of the public record -- It also could give additional insights into the generation of questions to be asked to political officials. The ACH matrix also makes it easier to incorporate the deception detection heuristics outlined here, and described in more detail here. And it could successfully integrate the subjective world with the objective world of news where the insights of both worlds can provide a press that does a better job of reducing uncertainty.

I foresee a happy ecosystem that can combine the insights coming from professional / non-professional journalists, and mainstream / alternative press. The system above could also provide a theoretical baseline for integrating the insights from a wide range of academic disciplines. It could provide a common framework and language to combining the collective intelligence that is currently compartmentalized beneath specialized disciplines and disconnected intersubjective perspectives.

This is an ideal ecosystem in the sense that it is somewhat dependent upon a "gift culture" where the revenue streams are uncertain. What is the business model? How are professional journalists going to get paid? What copyright license would these fact/hypothesis databases be under? How many different permutations of these types of databases would there be? How much interaction between competing perspectives would there be?

The flowchart above outlines a situation that would be more ideal for the public interest, and it's a stepping stone to seeing how the questions above might alter it.