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Philosophical Grounding for a New Model for Journalism

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I have a lot of ideas for how to create a new model for journalism, but it doesn't seem like the newspapers are in any rush to fundamentally change their business practices. Jay Rosen comments "No R & D rush. No large investment in the future. No siren call to find the new model."

I've been independently doing this R&D work through the process of making my documentary on the failures of the mainstream media leading up to the war in Iraq. I hope to provide a proof of concept of these models through the production of my film. I submitted the following comment to Rosen's site in the hopes that I can gain more awareness and institutional support for what I'm doing. I'm working on an implementation roadmap.

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Wilber's Integral Theory for Connecting Qualitative with Quantitative

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Rebecca MacKinnon agreed to pass along some of my ideas about a New Media Ecosystem, and commented to me that it was a bit difficult to quickly digest and convey to people. I sent her back the following e-mail that gives a little more context to the issue, and hopefully clarifies it a little bit -- But there is no easy solution for a complete paradigm shift in how we understand and comprehensively explain reality.

These ideas are dense which is exactly why they haven't been implemented yet -- We need to pool together the collective knowledge of our society in order to integrate all of the different viewpoints into one comprehensive system that takes into account all of the different ontologies. I propose that this system is Ken Wilber's Integral Philosophy, and I sent Rebecca the following e-mail trying to give a little bit more context.

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Analytical Techniques for Coordinating Decentralized Journalism

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I gained a lot of insight about the problems with American journalism from a lot of different expert perspectives throughout the production of The Echo Chamber documentary.

The media's objectivity standards limit the framing of issues to a very narrow spectrum of perspectives.

One way to overcome this limitation is for journalists to use much more sophisticated analytical techniques that have been developed by the Central Intelligence Agency. These techniques take a more scientific approach for weighing the available evidence against as set of possible explanations for the behavior and motivations of political leaders. These techniques provide very effective techniques for detecting political deception, and would be very beneficial investigative and analytical tool for journalism.

By combing this type of standardized analytical framework with the Internet, then it will be easier to harness the collective wisdom of a decentralized force of volunteer citizen journalists. By collaborating with these civically-engaged citizens, then the press should be able to challenge deceptive partisan framing and defy traditional media logic by investigating complex issues.

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Limitations of Wiki News' Neutral Point of View Policy

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Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales was at the Harvard Blogging Conference this weekend, and he spoke about the Neutral Point of View Policy (aka NPOV) and how it might apply to Wiki News.

Wales said that the NPOV policy works best as a means to get a lot of people to collaborate and synthesize news from other primary news sources, but that it would be probably difficult for WikiNews to do much original reporting. They have high standards of neutrality and verifiability, and they also don't accept original reporting unless it is from a known and trusted wikipedian.

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Synthesizing Blogging & Journalism Conference

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I've been listening to the live webcast of the Blogging, Journalism & Credibility conference at Harvard.

I'm actually trying to implement some of the theories that the participants are talking about by combining independent investigative documentary filmmaking with open source techniques of content development.

It is really exciting to listen to it because I think that The Echo Chamber addresses many of the hot topics that came up during the conference -- issues that I've been writing about a lot of them over the last couple of months such as:

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Sundance Panel on Docs & Blogs

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The Gothamist asked indieWIRE senior editor Eugene Hernandez to make some predictions for what to look out in the independent film world in the upcoming year.

The first thing Hernandez said was:

There is a panel at Sundance this year looking at the intersection of blogs and documentaries. I am curious to see what that is all about. Technology remains an important factor right now.
kentbye's picture

Integrating Film, Internet, Blogs & Open Source

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I'm interested in trying to apply the principles of open source development to the process of producing The Echo Chamber documentary. So far, I've been using EchoChamberProject.com and its blog as the primary mediums to facilitate this integration.

I'd like share my thoughts for how the integration of the Internet and Filmmaking mediums could leverage the power of open source to find new methods to:

* Recruit volunteer help for post-production tasks
* Develop film content throughout the post-production process
* Recruit post-production expertise
* Market independent documentary films
* Create new economic competitive advantages through meaning creation
* Handle complexity and defy media logic
* Integrate objectivity and subjective judgments
* Reach new audiences

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New Methods of Creating Meaning

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The concept of Integral Filmmaking combined with the principles of Open Source could introduce new methods for how meaning is created.

Traditionally, the Mainstream Media or documentary filmmakers had the most power in determining what meaning was created through their editing judgments.

But combining the Internet, Blogging and documentary filmmaking mediums could allow the audience to create their own meaning from information instead of relying upon the "objective" mainstream media, partisan press or closed-source documentary films.

The Open Source tactics of the The Echo Chamber documentary and website could create up to four distinct phases of meaning creation that could provide a unique economic competitive advantage.


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Integral Journalism -- Combining the Objective and Subjective

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There are flaws with a purely "objective" press as well as a purely partisan press.

Objective mainstream journalism relies upon the government institutions and other official government sources -- but the two-party system has a virtually monopoly on the spectrum of debate.

Partisan journalists allows their political biases to disproportionately present a set of facts so that their position will win the argument every time.

Integral Journalism is a new paradigm that could potentially provide the framework to integrate objective facts with a set of possible subjective interpretations of those facts (i.e. competing partisan, non-partisan and transpartisan hypotheses).

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Integral Journalism -- A New Paradigm

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There have been acknowledged failures of the mainstream media leading up to the war in Iraq.

My Echo Chamber Hypothesis proposes that the "He Said/She Said" objectivity constraints of journalistic production broke down after there was a consensus within the political leadership in Congress to authorize military intervention in Iraq.

After October 2002, the media served as an uncritical Echo Chamber to the Executive Branch's countdown towards war.

* How can this dichotomous objectivity constraint be overcome without resorting to a partisan press?
* Is there a new paradigm of journalistic production that can more comprehensively cover the complex issues of the day?

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