SXSW, South by South West, the one massive event for all things, music, film and interactive (startups, innovation, etc…) has made the headlines for a different reason than the usual hype and noise. After cancelling two panels about harassment in the tech industry, the event organisers have faced a serious backlash and the likes of Buzzfeed and Vox even threatened to withdraw from the event.
Between the outrage and the risk to lose two prominent media (which could have created a move followed by more), SXSW have now re-instated one of the panels and are even thinking about having a forum about online harassment according to Recode.
Announcements are yet to come but it seems SXSW have successfully been bullied into accepting to speak about bullying and harassment.
This post comes as a short take on an old – but still so valid – article from Katharine Viner on “[…] journalism in the age of the open web” (on theguardian.com). As Pettitt says, we are now living in a world that is more medieval, old-fashioned, than anything. Another quote – not from this text – said “the smarter the phone, the dumber the people”. Digital has made information a lot more available, communications have expanded so much. But at the same time the foundations remain word of mouth 2.0. Which is where digital’s failure lies: telling the truth out of the massive amount of information, rumours, etc … pushed online every second.
That is where digital journalism’s challenge – and opportunity – is. Keep up with the flow but bring certainty to it.