Pro-am journalism is supposed to be democratizing the web for non traditional reporters. Maybe. But when I went to AssignmentZero, Jay Rosen's brave new citizen media site, I read a fascinating conversation between two consummate old pros who, between them, don't have an ounce of amateurism.
The interview that caught my eye was between Howard Rheingold and Scott Rosenberg, two highly professional journalists and thinkers. If this is citizen journalism, then count me in. As always, Rheingold is both honest and provocative. He discusses "Can You Hear Me Now", Sherry Turkle's brilliant dystopian essay in Forbes about connectivity, acknowledging that it contained more than a grain of truth. Here is Rheingold at his most unwired:
My daughter -- the little girl in the story at the start of "Virtual Community" -- she works for Google now. She called me the other day, she said, "Daddy, if I don't do my email on my Blackberry in the shuttle on the way home from work I'll have 300 emails in the morning." I said, "Welcome to my world." It's a dream! It's turning into a nightmare! So I have a fundamental ambivalence about technology. But I also think it's totally empowering to me and to many others. It's all, as Ted Nelson would say, intertwingled.
There you have it. Rheingold is "intertwingled". Me too. I'm supposed to be a critic of citizen media and now I want to participate in AssignmentZero. Rheingold's intertwingling is catching. Next thing, I'll be confessing that I'm in agreement with Kevin Kelly about the future of culture.