Tracey Mitrano starts with a shout out to Brandeis saying that she has always regarded Brandeis as a special place.
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The final session is about to begin:
Session III: Technology is Neither Good nor Bad, Only Thinking Makes It So
Time: 6:30-8:00 pm
Speaker: Tracy Mitrano, Director of IT Policy and Law, Cornell University
Faculty respondent: Andreas Teuber, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Brandeis University
Student respondent: Daniel Ortner ’10
* How has new technology served as a tool for oppression or democratization around the world, particularly in China and Iran?
* How can technology be used for opening or closing societies?
Question: The idea that media would become non for profit concerns me. Why do you think non-for-profit model is where its going? You haven’t commented at all on public radio or television.
JS: I do not have the road map. I’m not an economist. If the legacy media goes down the tubes there’s going to be a vacuum. I hope people will still want news. Yes, Internet is an excellent platform. Good for democracy to have independence of non profit as opposed to commercial Schools may be suffering but we have the best system of higher education in the world. We should have an assemblage like that in journalism that could perhaps merge with education.
Public TV, to me, is huge national disappointment and embarrassment. Set up to be an independent alternative quality, non commercial public system. It is not that. It has given up on being non commercial. They’ve been under the thumb of congress forever. A lot of reasons why programming is skewed. Could produce better journalism and do much better, I think. Public radio however is the greatest succes story of American journalism. It is the elite electronic journalism that we have. Hopefully it will only get better. NPR is a great system and what public TV should aspire to be. Also a political problem because we support public TV with a pathetically low amount of support.
Question: Internet can provide fact-check-able journalism through having links to full speeches and interviews that let the viewer decide on the reliability of the news source. You were skeptical that the Internet can contribute to education?
JS: I’m skeptical more of the blogosphere. A lot of bloggers think they are the next journalists. THEY THINK JOURNALISM IS SO 1990S. I think that’s arrogant, although they are some of the smartest people I’ve ever met. What is journalism losing, replacing, who is getting it? It troubles me as we move into that.
Question: What are your comments on the Iran-twitter situation. Demand for news, what potential does net have as a tool for increasing demand for good news.
JS: I think it’s more of a supply potential than demand potential. Internet is important in education, but I don’t see that it’s integral to journalistic process. I see limits on citizen journalism although it can be valuable there are issues of quality control and professionalism. It’s not just experiences, it’s dedication, it’s education, it’s being part of a defined professional community as opposed to seeing something communicated to outside world.
Question: I’m curious how you respond to the notion that digitalized info should be free.
JS: Obviously it can’t all be free. There are different possible ways to fund it. Eccentric philanthropic foundations, universities, etc. I think there are reservoirs from which it could come. To the public, the freer the better. Variety for the consumer as well. A lot of experimentation still has to be done to figure out what are the most workable models. The internet is going to be a savior of journalism.
Question: Should the people who use new technology be accountable? How do we insure news is accountable?
JS: Only accountability is a critical process built into internet, but it’s not always fast enough or the right kind to inhibit rumors. If you make an error, it’s often corrected or pointed out very quickly. It’s a political process but not governed.
Question: With Twitter and all new forms of immediacy, are we as a society overdosing? How do we include substance and background?
JS: Yes, we are. New media cannot be rained it nor should it be. The internet are very promising platform for news. I dont think blogosphere is. Neither is Twitter or social networking. Whatever happens to traditional news may serve a frontline service, bringing first facts back from the front, but i don’t think it’s the answer to technology.
Something to chew on…
Jeff spoke a little about the amount of mischief that we can do with new media such as twitter before being caught. Do you think that people or journalists who use new technology should be accountable to someone or something? How should we ensure that the news coming out of this new technology is correct and true?
Response from Professor Farrelly: There is a role for credibility in news cycle. The way you get credibility is through experience. We need to have trust in sources. Even though I share your skepticism [in for-profit media], the kind of experience I mentioned earlier in establishing credibility is not inexpensive to produce. Quality is costing NY Times 3 million a year. Wondering, if, the problem is the idea of a for profit-media, since 1980 profit expectations associated with news have skyrocketed.