There’s a very interesting article in the March 31st New Yorker by Eric Alterman called “Out of Print”, about the state of of affairs with the American newspaper. The author talks primarily about the Huffington Post, which is one of a new breed of internet newspapers, featuring news, blogs, video, and commentary. Most of its news stories come from other news sources. The editors link to whatever story they believe to be the most relevant and interesting and then provide a comment section beneath it, where readers can comment. So surrounding each news article, you’ll find highly opinionated posts from a string of bloggers and interested readers, even some celebrities (like Nora Ephron, Michael Goldfarb, or Erica Jong). The bloggers aren’t paid and everyone is invited. The point of the Huffington Post seems to be that the real news is the conversation about the news. Interesting.
Here’s a quote from the article: “news is not something handed down from above but a shared enterprise between its producer and its consumer…The internet offers editors immediate information about which stories interest readers, provoke comments, are shared with friends and generate the greatest number of Web searches. An internet-based news site, is therefore alive in a way that is impossible for paper and ink.”
Ring of truth here? And maybe not just for newspapers, but for educational tools? We teachers, curriculum developers, and content builders tend to think of our materials as one way streets – we build them, students consume them. But as we emerse ourselves further in this Web 2.0 world, it seems clear that we’re moving onto a two-way street where the world wide web is a read and write environment.