Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Fourth Estate and The New Wild West

Don Tapscott http://twitter.com/dtapscott commented on Twitter today about the 'wild west' environment being generated as newspapers are dying but the new paradigm is not yet mature enough to take over.

This is one of the issues that's arisen in my work with the Institute of Policy Studies on for the Emerging Issues Programme. In a world where the traditionally authoritative sources of information are being severely challenged by new media (social networking, blogs, Twitter and more), daily newspapers are struggling to maintain their position as the “fourth estate” providing the vigilance that was once thought essential for democracy to flourish. For the public sector this poses a significant challenge around known and credible spaces for public debate, in order to develop durable policy.

Another challenge in this environment will be managing reputation and perception. Currently there are processes for challenging and correcting inaccurate or unfair coverage in mainstream media. There are currently no effective equivalent mechanisms for new media. In an environment where anyone can comment and reach hundreds or thousands of people without having to expose the validity of their assertions to scrutiny, far more pressure will be placed on the quality of each individual interaction between government and citizen and on building trustful relationships with individuals and groups.

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