Posted at 2:43 PM on March 12, 2007
by Jeff Horwich
To our surprise, our seemingly innocuous post on MNSpeak this week has sparked a little debate, and some criticism -- not of us, specifically, so much as criticism of the whole idea of openly asking the public for ideas for a show (or a story, or -- to get extreme, as some newspapers have -- what to put on the front page).
The discussion (beyond a swipe at the fact that we had -- gasp -- a one-letter typo on our site) raises some prickly questions about the value of "citizen journalism." One commenter posted a cartoon that skewers the idea pretty well:
(This What The Duck online comic is pretty good -- first I'd seen it...)
Of course, I'm not sure what we're doing is "citizen journalism" in the first place. In this case, we're just looking for creative submissions from people about their jobs, hoping we'll find some to feature on the show (it's looking good, by the way).
But the ideals behind citizen journalism certainly are alive and well -- at MPR, as at lots of news organizations. We're frequently asking people to help us cover the news.
The MNSpeak crowd seems more inclined to rip into the idea -- basically, it's lazy and we're shirking our media responsibility. I wonder how it's somehow better to declare, out loud or tacitly, that we don't need anyone's help or ideas. What do you think?
Journalists are always looking to cover the stories that interest the public. Why not ask the public for suggestions?
If there is anyplace the average joe should have a voice, it is public radio.
That's because we in the MNspeak crowd are, basically, lazy shirkers.
Actually, all forms of media and communication get heavily scrutinzed by MNspeakers, especially MNspeak itself (just ask Matt Bartel!). The line "MNspeak was better when (former owner) Rex was here" has been used so much, it has become an inside joke.
I think I am the ony regular MNspeaker who has seen your show live, and I enjoyed it. Not exactly what I expected, but surprise can be good.
Keep swinging for the fences, MPR dude.