our collective learnscape

In 2009 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that journalism is no longer the sole domain of professionals [my highlights].

[96] A second preliminary question is what the new defence should be called.  In arguments before us, the defence was referred to as the responsible journalism test.  This has the value of capturing the essence of the defence in succinct style.  However, the traditional media are rapidly being complemented by new ways of communicating on matters of public interest, many of them online, which do not involve journalists.  These new disseminators of news and information should, absent good reasons for exclusion, be subject to the same laws as established media outlets.  I agree with Lord Hoffmann that the new defence is “available to anyone who publishes material of public interest in any medium”: Jameel, at para. 54.

Source: Grant v. Torstar Corp., [2009] 3 SCR 640, 2009 SCC 61 (CanLII), par. 96, <http://canlii.ca/t/27430#par96>, retrieved on 2017-09-19.

It is not just our perception of what is news and what makes a journalist that has changed but our collective understanding of what is literacy and what should be the focus of education. Our relationship with knowledge is changing as we move into a post-print and post-channel era. It is becoming critical for democratic societies to have educated and engaged citizens sharing their knowledge, given this new age of ubiquitous connectivity and pervasive proximity (UCaPP) to our digital surround. This new literacy makes us all journalists. The network now decides who has the authoritative voice once reserved for professional journalists.

“But orality has not structured society since ancient Greece, and literacy no longer structures society today. The challenge for all the Mr. and Ms. Smiths throughout the academy, and eventually in the secondary and primary classrooms throughout the world, is to recognize that the exclusive focus and predominance given to the pedagogical artefacts of a literate world is inconsistent with the skills necessary to participate in the discovery and production of knowledge in a ubiquitously connected and pervasively proximate world. In a UCaPP world, what is valued as knowledge comprises a vastly greater domain than that in world structured by literacy. In a UCaPP world those who decide what is valued as knowledge are vastly more inclusive than in a world structured by literacy. In a UCaPP world, we can no longer accept authority-by- proxy. In a UCaPP world, ladies and gentlemen, we must now all learn to think for ourselves, a pedagogical objective far more important and more critical than merely learning to read.” —Mark Federman (PDF)

Self-mastery of our own thinking is necessary to counter the effects of a networked world, where words are electrically extended and fragmented by social media. Information manipulation is becoming widespread, driving identity politics. This of course makes a fertile environment for demagogues to wave the flag of populism. In the network era, populism is the first refuge of a scoundrel. A literate, engaged, and networked citizenry gives no such refuge.

The discipline of personal knowledge mastery (PKM) is a unified framework of individually-constructed enabling processes to help each of us make sense of our world, work more effectively, and contribute to society. It is rapidly becoming essential for every citizen, not just so-called knowledge workers. A critical part of PKM is adding value to knowledge. This is similar to what journalists have done for decades, and we can all learn from the good ones.

Ross Dawson discusses the future of news and describes various methods of ‘value creation’, which really are ways of adding value to knowledge. Almost all of these methods can be used by citizens to help our social networks, communities of practice, and work teams make sense together. Because it is only by sense-making together (e.g. social learning) that our society will progress. Ross suggests several ways to create value.

  • provide insight
  • make information easier to use
  • use visualization
  • investigate
  • provide analysis
  • validate information
  • provide timely knowledge
  • filter information
  • curate for a community
  • aggregate information and knowledge
  • be relevant
  • give actionable information
  • be open to serendipity

This modern NewsScape, “of value creation in a post-channel world”is also our collective LearnScape [a term coined by Jay Cross in 2007].

2 Responses to “our collective learnscape”

  1. Glen

    Great post, completely agree with the notion that we must be our own journalists and was empowered by the R.vs Torstar decision about bloggers etc. More recently the proposed adoption of The Journalistic Source Protection Act, also known as Bill S-231 has me concerned that they are trying to “define out” bloggers. They only want wage earners and mortgage holders for journalists, someone they can sink a hook into. Does this change things for citizen journalists? Should we as citizens accept that an elite class will interpret our news for us?

    • Harold Jarche

      “Should we as citizens accept that an elite class will interpret our news for us?” For me, no. That is what personal knowledge mastery is all about: taking control and engaging with others.


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