We’re off to the Media Standards Trust news innovation “unconference”

The upcoming Media Standards Trust News Innovation “Unconference” on July 10 should be a great opportunity for journalists, developers and innovators to start talking about ideas and solutions for the news industry.

Martin Moore of the MST said in the Guardian: “”Everyone is fixated by doom and gloom around print. We wanted to start to get together people who are doing interesting things and get journalists and developers together.”

And about time too. There are some fantastic things going on “out there” and the fact that more people than ever are signing up to journalist courses is proof that there is a passion and hunger for journalism.

True, the news industry landscape isn’t the same as it was just five years ago – but change is being seen in so many other parts of or lives too. After all it’s not just print news that is having to adjust and adapt to this brave new world; the impact of economics and technology is being felt everywhere, from local shops to the city council.

However, technology – or more precisely people’s access to and engagement with it – means the “journalism” rule books are being ripped up. And for the first time ever, we the people can have a say on how they’re re-written, from bloggers to civic media sites, students to established news outlets, and mash-ups to aps. Who knows, maybe the rule books will never be re-written, just adapted and tweeked in true beta style.

But one thing is clear: we’re never going to go back to the heady days of the mighty printing empires, (just as the car industry will never see the days of Henry Ford ever again).

Yes, we need to look at ways of creating robust news delivery, make sure investigative journalism is supported, and try to avoid “churnalism” (which is rife in “professional” journalism as it is). We need to ensure our elective representatives are kept in check, that injustice is exposed, and that we can all absorb and engage with news in a meaningful way. We also need to ensure those without access to the mighty mobile or web (and there are millions upon millions out there) can still engage in the news process. In short, we need to be able to trust our news – but also be confident to ask and face tough questions without blinkered hysteria.

So instead of shouting each other down, I believe this “unconference” will provide people with the platform and opportunity to actually create some real solutions – or at least start the process and think a bit more out of the box.

On July 10 let’s not be scared. Let’s be innovators.

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