Of late I have been finding that there is a broad range of approaches to submitting pieces on the Broowaha, and surely this is as it should be -- as our writers come from all over the world, and came to this forum, this thing, this Broo via many different roads and for many different reasons. Our ideas and beliefs are vastly diverse -- something that is visible not only in the articles themselves, but sometimes too in the vehement debates that follow, in comment form, at the bottom of some of the articles.
In response to some recent pieces I have found myself thinking critically about the medium in which we are all engaged.... the appropriateness of content, the tone of language, the depth of research behind claims, and arguments about why or why not things bear publication at all.
Quite a few authors who are involved here are deeply committed to the thing that it "citizen journalism," and in this, approach the work thus seriously. Others perhaps see it as more of a social network with a shared blog component, in which content is barely if at all policed, and serves no particular civic or social purpose.
Instead of continuing to merely argue content, purpose and attitude, without having ever coming to terms with that, in some ways, the site is both apples AND oranges, I think it's time we elevate the discussion to a critical dialogue.
In exchange with quite a few other Broo writers, it has been proposed that as a group effort as many as of us as are willing all work on something that addresses what exactly it is that we are doing here at Broowaha. That is to say, What IS Broowaha, from the authors’ standpoint? Why are you here? Perhaps it’s a personal, professional reason, perhaps it’s a political one, and perhaps it’s neither, or both, or something you never really thought about.
For me, one of the main reasons why I am here and why I think this dialogue is so necessary is because I value transparency in my mediums. Transparency both of purpose and of critical engagement with action. I regard this is an essential factor in the movement towards new media -- hence these questions, as an attempt at clarity, for all of us as well as for our audience.
- Lynne DeSilva-Johnson
Here are a number of questions that perhaps we can all answer, to try to see where we and our colleagues differ – no need for everyone to feel the same way! In fact, I hope this can generate discussion. A general outline follows. I look forward to your responses.
- What is “journalism”?
- What is “citizen journalism”
- What’s the difference? Why are either of these necessary, helpful, useful, or desireable?
- What would be the best possible condition in which journalism/citizen journalism would be available/published/distributed? What attributes would be present? What would be achieved by this being the case?
- What would be the worst? What would characterize this condition?
- What is the role of the journalist? Is the role of the citizen journalist any different?
- What is the responsibility of the journalist?
- What is the responsibility of the citizen journalist?
- How does the editorial team or ownership structure of journalism in either setting influence the work, the audience, and the meaning of the thing?
- What do you feel is the role of the editor in journalism? In citizen journalism?
A) how is this functioning historically, currently, or what trends are clear
B) what would be the appropriate role in your opinion?
- How did you end up on the Broo?
- Why do you write here/continue to write here?
- What are your intentions when you write a story or submit something to the Broo?
- Do you consider your audience? How does this affect your work?
- Do you believe you have a responsibility as a writer in a public forum? How would you describe that responsibility? To whom are you responsible, in what ways, and how does that affect your work?
- What are your personal goals for the Broo as a forum? For your role in the Broo at large?
- What do you think is the best possible system for organizing, running, and regulating the Broo? What would be the worst?
- What do you think about it at current? If you have complaints, what would be your suggestions for changing it? Be specific. What do you like, why, and if you think it should be changed, how and why should it or could it be changed? What do you think could be achieved by the changes you are suggesting?
- What makes you consider stopping being involved here? have you ever stopped, do you consider stopping? Why?
- Do you consider yourself a “citizen journalist”? Now that you are thinking about it, if you began to consider yourself a “citizen journalist,” would that change how you approach your work on this medium?
Anecdotes and stories: Please refer to experiences you have had here or in other publishing environments. Be as specific as possible!