The Role & Responsibility of New Media

Technologically driven changes in media presentation have changed the way high-profile court cases are presented to the public. Traditional news institutions strive to keep pace with bloggers without sacrificing established quality control methods, and the proliferation of cable news outlets has added to the din surrounding these cases.

In Panel # 2: The Role and Responsibility of New Media, Professor James Salzman, the Samuel Fox Mordecai Professor of Law at Duke University School of Law, discusses the issues surrounding the emergence of new media with bloggers Marcy Wheeler and KC Johnson, and USA Today Executive Editor Kinsey Wilson.

Questions/themes/discussion topics
  • The role of document analysis, as opposed to reliance on human sources, in the new media
  • Genre fluidity in the blogosphere
  • Open source investigation
  • Quality-control and accuracy in the non-institutional media
  • Pseudonymity and anonymity among online bloggers and commentors
  • Blogs as traditional media watchdogs
  • Online outing of alleged sexual assault victims
  • Will new media change media consumption habits?


Panel Video

"Our country's tradition of access to trials and court documents is based on the premise that there's a benefit to allowing citizens to review the administration of justice in our country. And while I recognize there's a lot of skepticism about whether the average reader out there is competent or interested in doing so, I think blog coverage of trials is one of the things that really is A) making them competent, and B) making them interested, and C) making them believe they have a stake in it."

- Marcy Wheeler
» Biography

"If it hadn't been essentially for the New York Times botching this story so badly, I doubt very much that blogs would have had the influence that they did."

- KC Johnson
» Biography

"What's been overblown in the general debate about blogs and their relationship to traditional media is that there's been a tendency to set them up as polar opposites. Journalists themselves have tended to be defensive about blogs and have tended to focus on the 80 percent that are demagogic or simply dreck, and not focus on the other 20 percent that can actually be useful to their reporting."

- Kinsey Wilson
» Biography