I filled in for my friend and colleague Rob Williams yesterday in his Introduction to Mass Communications class. I didn’t have to do any actual teaching, as he had a guest speaker, Sam Mayfield of the Center for Media and Democracy. I just got to listen and and enjoy what she had to say.
A couple of things she discussed resonated with me as an information professional. The first was that we are now used to getting our information in sound bites and very small easily digestible chunks. She contended that this was not the way humans should be getting their information. I agree. Sound bites are good for some things, but it is a very superficial relationship to info. You don’t get time to internalize it, think about, or understand what else is happening besides just this chunk you’re given.
The other issue she raised was how many more people are getting a voice now. Regular citizens can make the news now with their cell phone cameras. The Center for Media and Democracy even trains people to use cameras and go out and make their own news (as long as it is beneficial to the public, not people video-taping their cats lick themselves).
I really think the web and the these local media outlets are the key to showing us a truer version of the news than corporate media. These are exciting times.
As an after-thought, it was really cool how Rob made up a video introduction to his class. This is great use of web technologies for improving learning and the classroom experience.