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Fulton: Journalists Make People Feel Unimportant

At our Fusion Power conference, Mary Lou Fulton talked about the Northwest Voice, a participatory journalism newspaper project, and said if someone wants to submit a story about a little girl selling lemonade to fight MS, why not find a place for it to run. Here’s her logic:

I think one of the things that unfortunately journalism has become really good at is making people feel unimportant, making people feel that what matters to them and the things that are meaningful in their life don’t have any place at all in what we do. And so I want to take that whole thing away and say hey if you want to write it and you want to send it in, as long as it’s local, we’ll publish it. And we do…

The problem with being a great gatekeeper is that you’re keeping people out instead of letting people in.

I am still plugging away at putting together the full transcript of the Fusion Power conference. So far I am at 18,000 words and counting. There’s lots of good stuff.

One Response to “Fulton: Journalists Make People Feel Unimportant”

  1. Brendan Watson Says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Mary Lou Fulton, and I think she is doing great work at Northwest Voice. However, not everyone who is following her into open-source community journalism is following the same model. From talking to her and reading about the Northwest Voice, it appears that she is very much philosophically committed to giving the citizen’s a voice. However, there are other “open-source” projects, which seem more geared toward simply finding ways to produce content and advertising revenue on the cheap. The public is not dumb, and they will quickly see through these farces, and the participatory/open-source journalism bubble will quickly burst. On the other hand, if more people get behind the philosophical commitments of open-source journalism and community empowerment, this could be a very powerful model for future journalism, and can grow in scope to achieve things far beyond the scope and ability of traditional journalism. But we must watch carefully how open-source journalism evolves, and not assume that everyone is operating with the same healthy model, even though they may use some of the same language as Mary Lou Fulton to describe their projects.
    –(Smudged Ink)