The Grassroots and New Media

There are a couple of interesting pieces on new media and the grassroots at the Examiner.

First, Mark Tapscott alerts us to Nancy Pelosi’s new effort to put restrictions on free speech. (Hey, I thought Democrats were supposed to be all for the little guy.)

Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has cooked up with Public Citizen’s Joan Claybrook a “lobbying reform” that actually protects rich special interests and activists millionaires while clamping new shackles on citizens’ First Amendment rights to petition Congress and speak their minds.

Pelosi tried earlier this year to move H.R. 4682, the “Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2006,” which is now cited by Public Citizen’s Web site as the vehicle it is helping the incoming speaker to craft for the new Congress. The proposal Claybrook is helping craft for introduction early in 2007 is expected to be essentially the same bill Pelosi put forth this year.

That is bad news for the First Amendment and for preserving the kind of healthy, open debate that is essential to holding politicians, bureaucrats and special interests to account for their conduct of the public business.Read the whole thing to find out how it might affect you.

Also at the Examiner, Dan Gillmor looks at the way new media and old media can affect each other.

In a world of conversational media, the professionals recognize that the people who once were just an audience collectively know more, vastly more, than the journalists — and that this is an opportunity to do better journalism, not a threat.

In this world, traditional media people welcome bloggers and other “citizen media” types and, naturally, try to co-opt the best ones. The ecosystem expands, and we all get better information in the end.

But not without messiness: The transition is already exposing fault lines in the business model that supported quality journalism in the latter half of the 20th century, as advertising revenues are separated from the actual journalism by businesses, such as eBay, that do a better job for advertisers and customers alike. That competition is more relevant to the future of newspapers and magazines than the journalistic competition, at least so far.

My choice for Person of the Year
Kerry and the Troops