Kerry Coughlin and Pam Kilborn-Miller

Submitted by pamkm on Wed, 12/30/2009 – 7:58pm

Session Reporter: Kerry & Pam

Conversationalist 1: Kerry Coughlin

Conversationalist 2: Pam Kilborn-Miller

1. What meaning did you take from the conversation?

Kerry:  We all have a stake in robust and credible news and journalism regardless of our professions, perspectives or pursuits. News and information is essential to a free society and it’s critical that we convey that conviction to the next generation. How people get, use, and contribute to news is changing but the basic premise of its importance hasn’t altered. To have hope for the future we need to ensure availability of and access to accurate, vetted news and information. The rapid distribution and exchange of information in the world has created a situation of a dynamic, global living text book from which to learn and act. (see “Read more” below…)

Pam:  We also need to better understand the evolving impact of news (has the definition changed?), user-generated content, technology, 24×7 cable television, and community engagement on our ability to solve collective problems. As a citizenry, are we generally more accurately informed now than in the past, such as during the McCarthy era? Or, does the erosion of print media combined with the rise of Rush Limbaugh and others who profit from selling fear result in more public fury due to inaccurate information? Does this situation create more civic gridlock than in the past? If so, how can we effectively correct factual errors such as the idea that Saddam Hussein was involved with 9-11 which helped pave the way for the U.S. war in Iraq? On the other hand, the impact of social media and mobile phones on the protests in Iran is a thrilling new development in user-generated content and community engagement. What else is new and exciting that we can build on to accelerate positive change in ourselves and our world?

2. Share a standout story or quote for each of you.

Kerry:  From my conversation with partner, Pam: “We need to take advantage of those post-event, news or other points where people are ready for action. We need to provide platforms for people that allow them to collaborate to take action on a common vision. Ning is a good example of an online platform for communities that want to create personal profiles, share news, events, host forums, and combine resources to accomplish something specific.”

Pam:  Kerry said “How do we learn about things? We actually need people in the field investigating stuff (such as Bush’s military service) or the bloggers won’t have anything to talk about.”

3. What surprised, challenged, inspired, and/or delighted you about the conversation?

Kerry:  The amount of synergy we have in our thinking that we need to somehow better use technology to harness the power of people around the world.

Pam:  The event organizers are smart to introduce participants before the event. It was a pleasure to meet someone new from Seattle with a fascinating background, who shares common interests, and knows many of the same people that I do, yet our paths have never crossed until now. The result of a lively 90 minute brainstorm in a cafe with Kerry is that I’ll walk into the event having thought deeply about the issues and what I hope to get out of it. Plus, I’ll be very interested to hear Kerry’s thoughts on the event when it’s over.

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