Interactivity and Media Ethics
Reacting to the flap over the Washington Post closing the comments of one of its blogs, Jeff Jarvis interviews himself on the topic of media interactivity and gleans some excellent insights. Two choice examples:
Q: Should there be an expectation of civility in interactivity?
A: As much as there is in life.
We see two mistakes in the discussion surrounding the Post blog:
First, too many people judge interactivity by the worst of it, which is rather like refusing to visit New York because you hear there are a few assholes there. This, I think, comes mostly from people who wish they could dismiss interactivity, and the internet and blogs with it. Sorry, but interactivity Ã¢€” and New York Ã¢€” are here to stay.
The second mistake some people make is assuming that the rest of us canÃ¢€™t figure out who the assholes are. With that comes the presumption that we need to be protected from the bozos, that that is mediaÃ¢€™s (and, in other contexts, governmentÃ¢€™s) job. People sometimes ask me why I donÃ¢€™t kill stupid comments from various bozos. I reply that I figure most people know theyÃ¢€™re bozos and judge them accordingly.
Q: By the way, do we really need ombudsmen?
Everyone in a newspaper should have a direct relationship with the public. They should all be their own ombudsmen.
Good advice, methinks.