It’s been interesting to watch how Wikileaks made the last big leak available, to traditional media first and the rest of us later.
Wasn’t that the point of the web- access to everybody?
But, in this information overloaded society- we still look to established sources and tools to evaluate and analyze data for us. The New York Times and The Guardian are “trusted sources”- Wikileaks may have the data- but- even they have learned, they don’t have the clout.
I’ve read quite a few essays about how this latest release gained value by limiting access first- and it comes down to the following from The New Republic:
Wikileaks’s highest value is transparency, but the leak suggests that transparency is moot without authority.
I’ve broken stories on this site almost since I started publishing- but, even when I’ve beat the Dayton Daily News by days, weeks and even years in on case, that my information still isn’t as valid without the authority of a printing press, or a paid circulation or a hundred plus year tradition.
Same goes for the ideas I present- without being elected- my proposals aren’t accepted, even if they do make it into the “master plan”- like bike share into the Downtown Dayton Plan.
It’s hard to get exact numbers of readers on this site- thanks to RSS, Facebook, e-mail subscribers. I know about 1000 unique visitors come per day on average. I know what they search for, and what gets the most comments- but in terms of the validity of what I do here- it would seem that I’m the answer for about 20% of the voters- and the other 80% still think I’m a loose cannon.
Part of that can come from the digital divide. There are still a lot of people who don’t fully understand this technology- or value it the way the digerati do. I do know that I have a pretty good network of sources built up thanks to my ability to cut through the BS and call things honestly. But- for many, reading this site is something you do in private- and don’t admit to, because of the politics of the powerful in town.
When the Dayton Daily News finally covered the Qbase fiasco, they never mentioned where the original dirt came from. Other news outlets didn’t want to cover it either. The reality is- because of budget cuts, most journalists are overworked and too lazy to do the digging to uncover the real dirt. It’s almost pointless without a whistle blower who can point you to the dirt and then diagram it for you.
I often count on my readers to do the extra digging. I value their contributions as much as my own- because I still believe that their is an absolute need for a strong fourth estate- whether it’s the traditional media, or the new media.
Unfortunately, with the overload of data we all face, we’re getting more and more selective of what sources we trust. I thank all of you for continuing to read and contribute- but, until this site gets some recognition for the real work it does, it may never have the reach or impact it needs to do the work that needs done to uncover the dirty under-belly of Dayton.
If you believe in what we’re doing here- please, send a link to the story you’ve felt connected the most with you to your friends. And consider writing a comment about it on this post- with a link. Somewhere here, we should have a testimonial- and why not right here- today.