Excerpt from a stark realty check (via All Things Digital)
The basic structure of how news gets made is changing. Institutions, experience and credentials are less important than they used to be; networks, individual enterprise and personal “brands” are far more so. To new-media utopians like Jay Rosen and Jeff Jarvis, this shift — away from journalism schools and newsroom hierarchies, toward empowered citizen bloggers and crowdsourced reporting — is an unmitigated good. And sometimes it is good.
But sometimes it’s tragically bad. Here’s one example.
Twenty-four people in Afghanistan, including seven U.N. staffers, have been killed in riots sparked by Florida pastor Terry Jones’s public burning of a Quran. Poynter.org’s Steve Myers looked into how the rioters even knew of Jones’s stunt given a widespread and mostly effective media blackout meant to avert violence. The answer: A college student at the University of Florida filed a report for the wire service Agence France-Presse, which syndicated it all over the world.