On Leap Day last week, UK’s The Guardian, one of the nation’s largest newspapers, announced their new Open Journalism initiative with a rather intense, well-crafted advertisement featuring a modern retelling of the classic story of The Three Little Pigs. The commercial presents the media coverage through various traditional and social outlets following the end of the fairy tale as the pigs are put on trail for murdering the wolf. This all culminates in rather incredible turn… but see it for yourself:
The general message (beyond the fact that pigs are rather conspiracy-minded) is a vision of the future of journalism wherein digital, print, and social media sources intertwine to create “the whole picture.” A blog post from Editor-in-Chief Alan Rusbridger elaborates on this idea a bit more by declaring the newspaper’s new role of a curator or moderator information shared across multiple platforms. Other videos on their site from various section editors echo this sentiment: the world is full of “reporters” (obviously not in the professional sense) and that insight from these sources should be accounted for and presented.
Open Journalism is only possible because the digital landscape and increased mobile Internet access have giving everyone the chance to become an ‘on-the-scene’ reporter. Whether it’s taking video or photos, stating an opinion, or simply sharing content, the individual is becoming more important in the generation of content and furthering a social conversation. This is a major contrast to the traditional media relationship of broadcasting news from a central site out to the masses.
When the established authorities like The Guardian acknowledge and grant some level of acceptance to admittedly non-professional work, the balance of power shifts, and issues of authenticity, legitimacy, and general trust in truth become troublesome. Only time will tell how people react to this new level of empowerment, and what shape the news will take in this bold new landscape.