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ON: Being in the know – And The Power of Being Connected

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 · 
September 19, 2007
 · 
4 min read

Today I had an epiphany at lunch.  (Thanks to MTV’s Matt S who helped me get there)
major News outlets have let us down by not supplying us with factual information in a simple way.  (and no this is not news) As a matter of fact I would venture to say that broadcast journalists often are too lazy, too removed and too worried about their vanity to get information in a way that gives us a bird’s eye view of the facts.

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Over the last week I have witnessed this on a mass scale with Brittney Spears’ VMA performance being the coup de gras.  We all know she did less than a stellar job, but I think what upsets me is that the majority of all mass media broadcast journalists have speculated on so many theories when the information they needed on Brittney was being reported in a clear concise way on Twitter via MTV’s micro-community.  The 411 was that Brittney did not show up to practices and partied her ass off the night before – thus the less than stellar lip syncing job.

Putting talent aside, because I think we have all established that she gets paid a ton of money to lip sync other peoples songs and to learn other peoples moves, what the broadcast journalists seem to have missed was that Brittney was not present and violated her contract with the producers of the show and fans.

While the speculation has been a great soap opera to follow – the fact of the matter is that if you were getting your news from credible sources who actually followed the stars, i.e. the man on the street reporters who gave us incredible insight into the behind the scenes information on the VMAs, the speculation on her mental state would have been put to rest.

I would also venture to say that local news organizations have lost their focus, as their top stories today were a blow-by-blow on OJ. (merely a repeat of the national evening news) If I remember correctly, wasn’t the purpose of the local stations to provide us local news that helps alert us to important happenings in our community?  Again, this is another opportunity for an uprising of honest street reporters to give us news in this new world. 

As a matter of fact you can get better local information from some of the MySpace and FaceBook communities than you can with your local news.  I think lazy journalists who are more interested in reporting on national stories for their professional gain combined with the pressure of the infiltration of advertising supported news organizations have muddied the waters so that it has tainted the news we get. 

Advertisers have always had power, but what gives them the right to control the content we receive?  If advertisers would advertise in contextually relevant spaces they would sell more products as humans are more adept to contextually relevant information…and yes it helps if that information is served up in a creatively dramatic, fun or intriguing way.

So when they fail us – where do we go?  We should and will inevitably go to people we can trust.  People who are not driven by any other need other than to get us an honest depiction of an event or situation.  For me it could be the guy on the street who witnessed or organized the event.

Thanks Twitter for giving us a conversation eco system that facilitates honest conversations.  I am sure at some point someone we will figure out that making up, or speculating on situations will arise (i.e. fake Steve Jobs).  I even think it might be fun to have a soap opera delivered via Twitter.  The beauty of the new ecosystems popping up is that the transparency and availability of easy to use technology helps us get to the bottom of the BS and creates a Über-connected world. 

The one thing I hope for is that more mass media outlets like MTV let us tell a great stories.

ON: Being in the know – And The Power of Being Connected via @jpenabickley
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