Watching the live stream that we were directed to was an interesting experience. The clip was full of speakers providing valuable perspective on issues facing journalists across the globe. Most interesting to me was Janine Warner of Sembra Media talking about the recent studies her organization has done in Latin American journalistic contexts.
Her discussion was striking because it gave me a new perspective on the value of digitally native, entrepreneurial, independent-minded news organization in fostering a democratic journalistic culture. She discussed why more traditional news organizations do not always break controversial stories. Lack of resources and government pressure/interference are both among them. These independent organizations, however, evade these concerns and break the controversial stories. I knew this to be true, but what she said next opened my eyes.
Once these stories are broken by independent organizations, they are picked up by mainstream news outlets both in their home country and beyond. In this way, independent news outlets liberate traditional ones because once something is out there and becomes news it must be reported on; it can’t be ignored. Thus, even if these outlets can’t break controversial items, they are empowered to bring exposure to them because of the work of independent organizations. This was a very provocative line of thought that I am glad to have encountered.