Week One Assignment
The dawn of new media, and the development of Web 2.0, presents a considerable challenge to the traditional methodology of news reporting. Its fundamentally egalitarian nature is perhaps unprecedented, as a global cultural commons. Providing a space where all voices can speak, and all voices can be heard, irrespective of alliance, or officiality, or of prescribed authority, is a truly radical development.
Fundamentally, Web 2.0 and new media allow subjectivity to be reclaimed as a source of wisdom, and power. We have long become accustomed to the allegedly unbiased news produced by mainstream outlets which is necessarily objective - and which suggests its objectivity makes it trustworthy, and truthful. The reality of such media, with its massive inequities in the stories told, and the voices speaking, shows that such claims cannot be taken incontrovertibly.
The potential - already harnessed to a stunning effect by many - for people to tell their own stories to the world is hugely exciting. It is the potential for a multiplicity of voices that assert in their diversity a far more human experience than that of the stories procured for and sold by mainstream news outlets. It is the potential for previously marginalised voices to be heard, and the potential for dissent from censorship existent in varying degrees in mainstream news. Importantly, it is the potential for a greater connection, immediate and visceral, between the story-readers and the story-tellers; a connection from life to life.
As a tool to be harnessed for social change, its capacity for solidarity is phenomenal. Within the community of the concerned, the opportunity to side-step mainstream news outlets and instead put issues directly into the public domain is liberating, and deeply empowering. The consistent under-reporting on women's issues by traditional news outlets creates isolation; egalitarian new media, and interactive new media, counter this directly by not only raising the profile of women's issues, but also making it possible for individuals and groups to make connections, build relationships, and act in support of each other online.
For me, the opportunity to participate in news, rather than consume it, is invigorating. It is important to me - as it must be for many - to learn about the issues faced by others worldwide, and how the society I belong to has impacted other communities. As traditional media generally doesn't report, truthfully, on such things, Web 2.0 and new media are an important source of information, leading to awareness about crucial issues, and also to awareness of how, and where, support can be given.
As a writer, the interactivity of Web 2.0 provides the opportunity for others to comment, to elaborate, to dispute - so there's the potential for, in writing, to be part of dialogue, to learn, and to form associations. Rather than being a solitary activity, Web 2.0 makes writing a community activity, dynamic, and interconnected. It's also the opportunity to let my own voice speak, as an individual, free from notions of there being a 'right' way to tell a story: allowing diversity of form, of method, of media. It's creative, and liberating.