Varying points of view and greater democracy?
A question from the audience has sparked talk about new media providing people with more and more narrow outlets for their interests, preventing them from seeing anything written from a different point of view. Prof. Shah contends that, in fact, it’s not as pervasive a problem as we may think, and there’s a great variety of people who visit any particular site, no matter how specific.
Moderator Sue Robinson, also a professor at UW-Madison, asks if there may be an ethical responsibility on the part of newspapers and news sites to prevent this furthering segmentation, citing the Capital Times’ specifically sports and arts oriented sites. The panelists consensus seems to be there’s no stopping that, people are going to get what they want somehow, so we might as well give it to them. Readers are readers, and we shouldn’t worry about what else they might be seeing. Is that right? Do you think we should do what we can to expose readers to a wide variety of topics and viewpoints, or is that simply not our jobs?
Katy Culver takes it one step further and asks that we ensure a broad readership, and equal access to all. Dhavan Shah quickly countered that, in his view, new media are more democratic than the old. What do you think? Do websites and twitter provide a greater degree of accessibility for the audience, or are we missing out on the (not insignificant) part of the population that stays off line.