Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dewey and Online Journalism

As an anti-elitist, Dewey believed that "the capacity of the wise few to discern the public interest tends to be distorted by their position." When we look at traditional journalism, which includes newspapers and magazines, there tends to be a ranking of people going from a lower responsibility level and thus lower privileges, such as a reporter, to a high level of responsibility and thus a higher level of privileges, such as the editor-in-chief. While those people in high positions of power in traditional journalism are in charge of making the decisions as to what is or is not important for everyone to read, Dewey believed that their opinions may be skewed based on their position not only in the publication, but as well as in society.

As journalism shifts away from newspapers, magazines, and other forms of traditional journalism, a more anti-elitist approach is being made to news reporting. Those stable power structures no longer exist to the extent that they do in traditional journalism. The definition of "journalist" itself is now being redefined as each person has the ability to become an author of their own work, as well as the editor who decides whether or not the work gets published. Dewey explains that a democracy is not just a form of government, and online journalism is showing that each individual person now has as much power as any other when it comes to distributing what they see as newsworthy information.

Further, Dewey believed that previously those in elitist positions were potentially unable to provide information to the general public who reads their publication that was relevant to the lives of the people actually interacting with it. The public that has access to publications now has a the ability to publish what they believe is important to the lives of the greater public.

Dewey believed that "individuality could be sustained only where social life was understood as an organism in which the well-being of each part was tied to the well-being of the whole." Individuals now have access to not only sustain their individuality as a person among the public, but make decisions that may be unrecognizable to those made by the elite in traditional journalism. The face of journalism itself is shifting to a place where each individual is made equal in the ability to publish what's important to them.

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