Gene Policinski sat down with Collier Roberts, Amanda Stravinsky, Grace Thomas and Elise Tweston to talk about multimedia and how journalists can keep up with the ever-changing Internet.
The Evolution of The Internet: For better or for worse?
By: Collier Roberts
A pioneer, by definition, is a person among the first to develop or be the first to use or apply a new method or area of knowledge.
Gene Policinski, a founding editor of USA Today, and now vice president of the First Amendment Center, has become a pioneer of sorts, with what he calls his “Grand Theory of the Internet,” educating journalists all around the world of the evolution of internet as it relates to journalism, for better or for worse.
“The Internet has come from being a toy, to a tool, to a necessity,” Policinski said.
This is his grand theory of the Internet.
With the evolution of the Internet, from its birth until now, new technology has now allowed the consumer to become the editor. But with that, as Policinski explains it, comes a push and a pull.
“I love the fact that I can make judgments about what I want to read at any given moment, and get it when I want it,” said Policinski. “But I also expect out there to be a professional who will make a decision that I need to know this. I have never been so well connected and over informed.”
Since the Internet has gone from being a toy, to a tool, to a necessity, somewhere in the mix some discipline has been lacking. Because the Internet is heavily relied upon in society, consumers have become overwhelmed, according to Policinski.
“We are overwhelmed with the tools and we’re overwhelmed with the reach and the ability to put it out there and we’re not making enough decisions about what we’re putting out there,” said Policinski.
So has this evolution of the Internet in the eyes of journalists been for the better or for the worse?
Policinski could argue for both.
Since the rapid growth of the Internet, people have more access to information than ever before. The consumer, can now become in the editor in the sense that you can choose what you want to see, read or hear at any given time.
But since technology has come this far, therein lies the issue of credibility. All media outlets are looking to have their information out first, and because of the way the Internet has developed, they are able to do that, but is it always correct or even newsworthy?
Policinski does believe that there is hope for the way a journalist can thrive in this age of rapid Internet growth.
“Due to the growing number of critics, credibility is the only thing we have left. Credibility is what we have to market, to bring to the news report and that is everything.”
Policinski gave three ideas in order for journalists to gain the trust of the viewers and readers back during the age of necessity of the Internet.
“Get it right. Be accurate, timely, and consistent with a follow up,” said Policinski. “If you do these things, you will be in good shape.”