Personal transparency, the eleventh change for journalists
A lot of comments have been made to Paul Bradshaw’s (read his blog too) excellent list of changes for journalists in the upcoming ten years in the Press Gazette lately. In short, the list is made up of:
1. From a lecture to a conversation
2. The rise of the amateur
3. Everyone’s a paperboy/girl now
5. Hyperlocal, international
7. Really Simple Syndication
10. Just a click away
I’d like to add an eleventh change/challenge for journalists. One that is closely connected to no. 1, but I think it deserves it’s own mention.
11. Personal transparency
As a consequence of blogs, wikis and citizen media sites becoming more important sources of information for the general public, I think we’ll see a new awareness of the importance of trust, and knowing who your source of information is. Bloggers are often open about what their views are and who they are affiliated with. If they’re not, you bet someone else will find out and make it public.
I am convinced this openness will be demanded of journalists as well. You might not need to reveal details about your private life, but you will need to give your readers/viewers/listeners an idea och what you represent. This is an important distinction, since for instance journalists working with sensitive information, infiltrating or walraffing will need to remain fairly anonymous when it comes to for instance how they look and sometimes even what their names are in order to do their job well. But they can still build up trust. Swedish blogger Beta Alfa is a good example that you do not need to reveal your real name in order to achieve this. Being open about your affiliations, for instance, and anything else that might influence or be suspected to influence your work, is a good start. Also simple things like providing a list of links to what you’ve written before on a subject.
I call this personal transparency.