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A Digital Age Manifesto Addition—Listening

For the majority of us here on G+, +Dan Gillmor‘s commentary published in the Guardian a short time ago is logical, with many of the elements defined way overdue for revision. Clearly, the piece is focused upon fora that are specific to a publication or an individual article. However there is much that should be internalized by those posting more than a shared meme on a regular basis.

I particularly liked Dan’s points: Make moderation a core feature of these conversations: moderate the discussions and insist on civility and mutual respect.”  And, “Ask the readers how to do all this better.” These rules can, and should, be applied by everyone posting in a public forum. For the most part, they are.

Unfortunately, there is one element that is evident in this environment that seems to be missed by the majority of the media. Listening. It’s one thing to moderate discussions and add comments. Listening to, then understanding, the undercurrent and modifying behavior and approach is another. 
The New York Times set the template for readers' ombudsmans. Now it needs to update the role for a mutualised digital age
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Paula Jones's profile photoPeter Strempel's profile photoColin Lucas-Mudd's profile photoJohn Kellden's profile photo
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I think most of the press people are stretched so thin they can't spend the time listening to the reactions to their stories (although I have heard of one electronics pub that gives each editor many online personas and then insists that they use them to talk to each other, look like there's lots of activity, and try to get "normal" people to post as well). 
 
It's an interesting manifesto, though I think it is a little self-indulgent in that some key points appear to play to professional immersion in the newspaper business with little regard for the supposed 'public'.  That's not really news in itself; editors frequently comment how they write editorials for the approval of other editors and senior journalists.  Peer approval and all that.

One thing conspicuously absent in the manifestor, unless I just didn't pick up on it because it was contained in some impenetrable jargon, is an attempt to redress disingenuous jargon or 'euphemisation' to disguise realities.  You know the sort of thing:  it's internet censorship, not filtering; government sanctioned murder, not interdiction; fraud, not financial irregularities, etc, etc.  Honestly, I ask you, what the fuck is feedback Zeitgeist when the shrink is not at home, or PubEd Submitterator?  Is there really no way to describe these concepts in plain English?  If not, the ideas behind the euphemisms are probably crappy.

Much of what I complain about has to do with journalists being self-censoring cowards suckled on the Stalinist teat of political correctness that has been killing language and straight talk in the West since the late 1960s.  Some of it no doubt also has to do with hipster dumbarses being given jobs as journalists for the sake of quotas, nepotism, and media owner preferences for numbskull dipshits rather than go-getters and dissident types.

I suspect if people ditched the habit of confusing a nonsense euphemism with reality, we would not feel quite so misled by the news media.  To that end I'd like a greater discussion of the use of the English language re-enter media debate and comment columns.  Bring back Lord Copper, I say, and let him thrash the language luddites publicly for their vandalism.
 
Excellent +Peter Strempel. Once again you have found the missing element and made the point clearly and with unambiguous precision. Thank you. I second your last sentence.
 
+Peter Strempel this:
I suspect if people ditched the habit of confusing a nonsense euphemism with reality, we would not feel quite so misled by the news media.
is a gem, thanks.
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