Rachel Sterne Democratizes the News Media

Rachel Sterne: I would actually say the opposite, that I think in recent years we’ve seen explosion and the democratization of media in terms of people having these tools, the tools to produce content or intelligent news reporting all over the world, the people who have internet access has completely exploded and the people who have the ability to distribute.

So previously, it was not a democracy and I don’t think anyone would have pretended it was in which you had a few large media organizations that control the means of distribution. So whatever they said would become the dominant narrative.

Now, what we have at internet is everything is accessible and the democratization is there. And GroundReport sort of serves in the middle space which is, we don’t want to be complete anarchy, we do want to add some value by applying some of these really important journalistic practices to gathering, vetting, and distributing the news, but at the same time want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to offer their views and whatever documentation they have of recent events.

So I think the trend is definitely going in the right direction. What we need now is sort of this midway filter that is able to look at that information, apply filter as apply vetting so that it comes out in a more intelligent sophisticated manner where actually has value to the audience that's trying to serve.


Rachel Sterne: Sometimes, the vetting process can post entirely new challenges just because these systems have never been applied to such local breaking news events. The other thing that is one of the biggest challenges is basically a learning curve to explain to regular people and journalist alike, especially with professional journalist, it's difficult that they can post content independently on their own, will ved it afterwards, they you know people still be emailing articles to the site saying is this alright? They don't really understand that they can just go ahead and publish it. We want to keep that ball rolling as quickly as possible. So it's educating people that, yes this is okay. We want to encourage you to sort of be the master of your own work and be entrepreneurial and we'll do the rest.


Rachel Sterne: I think the first we need to recognize that many of the people who we consider to be professional journalist may have no credentials at all, may have really earn their jobs by working and building work experience but that we certainly need to reward entrepreneurial journalist. I think now, more than ever it is very important to be a journalist who is able to innovate, who is able to be resourceful in a number of different ways by using all of this new tools and forms of media.

So I think that maybe our idea of a traditional journalist, that is less important now, but the professional journalist is more important than ever.

Another thing that we try to do to address this on GroundReport is that we distinguished between being a professional journalist and being completely neutral and objective and being perhaps a citizen reporter, a regular layman but being very transparent about your views, so we're focusing more on transparency than neutrality to say, okay maybe you do have biases somewhere but at least if you’re expressing them on GroundReport, if you're pointing them at in your profile, it's okay if there is a little disparity there.


Recorded on: May 14, 2009

GroundReport depends on the best efforts of citizen reporters.

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