Welcome to the club

I’m mailing it in a bit this time around. There are so many things on my mind that I’m excited to blog about, but I really need a bit more time to develop the ideas. So instead, I’ve decided to include a video that the The Guardian put together. It’s on their open journalism page, and it’s really worth watching. You don’t even have to click over to it. I’ve embedded the video into the post. Have a look:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDGrfhJH1P4&w=560&h=315]

There’s so much to think about, right?

There’s so much visual stimuli, but the things that jumped out at me were:

‘keep your chinny chin chins up fellas’

‘I knew the wolf. There’s no way he could’ve blown down those houses. He had asthma’

‘”Huff and Puff” simulation’

and my favorite was one of the signs at the demonstration that said:Wake up and smell the bacon

Although, when I saw this the first time there was plenty  of both positive and even negative feedback on the whole idea. The future of media seems to be one of those darling topics of both serious and not-so-serious thinkers. Last week at South by Southwest in Austin, the editor-in-chief of the New York TimesJill Abramson, spoke at length about this very thing. Oh wait, here’s Jill Abramson Plays the Tech Neophyte at SXSW over at The New York Observer.

But I’m not going to rehash any of the things that were said about The Guardian‘s foray into all of this. You came here for my take.

For me, there’s no question that modern organisations have to grapple with how to deal with new media. Specifically with the way that the reader/viewer has grown accustomed to being a participant. I must admit that when I see a cable news show letting their programming be steered by the idiocy of their viewers, I get irritable. It’s one of those things that really makes me worry about our future collective intelligence.

Yet if I’m honest, I must admit that you take the good with the bad. If we’re going to open media up to the masses, and the genie has been let out of the bottle on this one, then we’re going to sometimes see the dark underbelly of humanity.

In a very critical way, it makes us responsible in a way that we’ve never seen. Even though there will likely always be more trusted news sources than others, we have to be more particular about what/who we believe than any other time in history. We joke about it. We say, ‘I saw it on the internet – it must be true,‘ while knowingly winking at the utter ridiculousness of such a statement.

One of my closest friends tells a story about Sunday mornings at his grandfather’s house. His eyes light up when he tells it. My heart warms a bit just thinking of it, as well. Are you ready? You’re going to love this.

Early in the morning, before everyone was awake, grandfather would amble down to the store and buy a selection of various newspapers. He’d come home with freshly-baked bread from the panadería, and spread all those papers out on the floor. They’d spend hours reading the same stories from different perspectives. As a result, my friend is one of the most balanced and curious people I’ve ever known.

What do I want? 

Glad you asked. Don’t read the same old newspapers you’ve always read. Don’t go to the same websites and assume that the information is good enough. It’s not. Read something that challenges you – something you are sure you disagree with. It’s worth it. It really is.

What’re you scared of? 

Being wrong.

Welcome to the club.

the smart pigs who're sometimes wrong club


  1. I agree with your advice, with a caveat; I don’t give every viewpoint equal weight. If a news source time and time again reveals itself to represent idiotic (or evil) views, then I discount their coverage completely and forever. They deserve it. Listening to other views is worthless if you’re listening to the views of idiots. There are generally intelligent viewpoints in all directions on an issue, but you can’t just consume the leading news sources and call it a job.

    1. Really good point Patrick. Completely agree.

      It’s a bit like a neglectful friend. If the person shows again and again that he/she can’t be relied on, then there’s no point carrying on with the charade.

      News sources can certainly lose their credibility, and I’m in no way suggesting that all news is equal. That’d be lunacy.

      ‘Listening to other views is worthless if you’re listening to the views of idiots.’

      Well said.

  2. That’s a fantastically well-made video. We never get anything that good here, commercial-wise. Except maybe during the Superbowl. And I refuse to watch that, so I wouldn’t know.

    I agree with both you and Patrick. Yes, get your news from all over, and be voracious, and weigh all the sides. But there are some places you just don’t need to bother with. Because they’re not news. I won’t name the major news network here in the States but I think you can guess which one I’m talking about. I refuse to watch it and I refuse to credit it. It’s fearmongering and I won’t be party to that.

    The pig photo made me happy.

    1. I looked at photos of ‘smart pigs‘, and considered ganking one of them.

      Then I remembered that I had the ‘pig sitting on a pig‘ photo, and decided to go with that. Glad you liked it.

      I’m not often confronted with the news source to which you’re alluding. It was on in the doctor’s waiting room when I went with my mother to the doctor a few years ago. Seemed like an odd choice of waiting room fare, but I listened a bit and then ended up tuning it out.

      One of the advantages of being self-involved and having an active imagination:
      I can tune things out quite effectively.

      1. Did you just use “ganking”? That makes me happy. No one uses “ganking” anymore. It is one of my favorite words ever.

        I’ll give you your imagination, but I think you’re a lot less self-involved than you purport. (I use my phone for situations like that. Easy to tune things out when I can tweet my annoyance to my kindred spirits.)

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