In a rural community like the one I call home, news is controlled by a single agency and woe to those who attempt to provide more information or different views. The less the people know, the better for that agency. Events which go unreported are soon dismissed as "mindless gossip", and the public's right to know becomes a minor matter.
In general, small town media has little interest in community debate and more interest in filling columns with wire reports from across the nation. Hopefully, those days are fading fast.
I think it's obvious the ever-growing blogging community has taken the reins, presenting not just news and information, but accounts of personal experiences. And plenty of editorializing on events local and global. I'm happy to be a part of this new enterprise.
Now cable news is moving past the frequent "what are the bloggers saying" segments to offering anyone with the tech equipment and internet access a chance to add their own reports.
On Tuesday, CNN will announce the creation of a "citizen journalism" division.
"What we're doing with the Exchange, and I-Reports in particular, is creating a single vehicle, a simple branded environment in which people are going to be able to more consistently and easily participate in the news," says Mitch Gelman, senior VP/executive producer for CNN.com.
With its streamlined uploading function, CNN Exchange represents a more ambitious commitment to citizen journalism than has existed to date. Although broadcast news divisions and cable news networks have dabbled in incorporating viewer video into newscasts for the past year, none have as sophisticated a Website."
Thanks to a more widespread access to the online world, I've seen a true change taking place - more people are writing and reading and sharing their life experiences. And already, many news organizations have opened up to the blog writers with eager acceptance (like WKRN-TV blogs and No Silence Here at the KNS.
An online writer needs no corporate endorsement to achieve their goals - but corporations are starting to need those writers more and more.