One of the things I do in the evenings and weekends is copy-editing. Lots of different stuff – textbooks and science and philosophy and religion and … I love helping other people make the sort of book they really want to write. (I am, however, famously nit-picking and pedantic. Don’t come to me if you want to use ‘impact’ as a verb.)
The book I’ve been working on recently is a beginner’s guide to journalism, one of the chapters of which is about the future of journalism now that we’re all content-providers (this, being said on a blog, is looking dangerously incestuous).
What intrigued me is that how ‘citizen journalism’ could be replaced by ‘citizen science’ and the sense would have been exactly the same. Citizen journalism is democratising, heralds the beginning of ‘bottom-up’ journalism but are standards under threat? Instead of carefully-crafted news, are we faced with a flood of pseudo-news? Rather than a tightly-argued discussion of a complex event, will readers be left to weave the narrative for themselves from a bunch of hyperlinks? What happens to quality and content when untrained ‘news bunnies’ are let loose? While blogging and micro-blogging open up critical debate, do they also increase the quantity of unverified fact at large in the ether?
The zeitgeist is changing. From advertising to zoology, the old metrics don’t work as well any more. So we have to create new ones but in doing so, we’ll set everything in flux and have to go through a period of some pain.