For our last reflections of the semester, here’s what I wanted to point out-
-From “The political economy of reform: Role of the internal “journalist””, by Sumir Lal
Civil society and media can hold processes accountable through the public sphere, the author states. But the public sphere is increasingly expanding, granting an invaluable role to the “citizen-activist-journalist”. I would like to reflect on this construction, because it makes for an important contribution. Rather than mere “journalism”, or the so called “citizen journalism”, this trifecta grants the citizen and journalist, whether individually, mutually or inclusively, a unique power for social accountability and transparency processes. Its construction holds enormous potential for an inclusive, dynamic framing of news stories; for the democratic diffusion of information; for triggering participatory processes derived from the previous stages of storytelling and information access. Much can be gained in the real world as a result of a well-structured coherence between these “characters” in a single individual. I believe it is not exploited enough, but should be. It makes social participation possible, by mixing the journalist’s capacity to delve deeper into issues with questions, the citizen’s conscience of the need for change, and the activist’s passion for mobilization. An example would be citizen-activist-journalist Glenn Beck (and I point out these characterizations in that order because, although his profession is the latter, it is driven by the former two). Recently, he appealed to his audience to donate money for a foundation whose aim is to battle child slavery and sexual trafficking. The response was astounding.
– From “Journalistic Framing and Media Relations for Marginalized Groups”, I would like to reflect on the responsibility of framing news stories, and also of going beyond them. It is, indeed, a huge responsibility that the journalist should be accountable to. The way in which stories are portrayed have an impact on the outcomes of participatory processes. At the same time, I would like to point out that it is not only the journalist’s framing responsibility that counts- it is the audience’s response to it. In that sense, I believe we should also place attention to analyzing and transforming our frames of how we consume communication. Moreover, we must also ask ourselves about how those news frames are interpreted in different manners by different actors. Ultimately, participatory democracy, action, and mobilization are a result of how the different actors react to the stories that have been framed.
-From the reading I chose to focus on from “Accountability through public opinion”- is the one titled “Is Social Participation Democratizing Politics?”. Precisely, this is the question I have been asking myself throughout the semester. First- CAN social participation democratize politics? If so, in which ways? HOW? WHEN? WHY? That is, what are the necessary conditions for social participation to effectively democratize politics and garner change? Why are some models more successful than others? What are some strategies that can be implement in order to maximize democratization through social participation? What is the responsibility of all the actors, jointly -civil society, NGOs, government, corporate sectors, individuals, media, institutions- in making this process possible, in making the result a reality? Which of these actors has the most responsibility? The individual, who at his own level performs that participation, or its surrounding allies-foes? When does social participation fail in creating more inclusive and participatory environments where networks are used for the collective welfare? Are there any examples we can think of where social participation has been successful, or where it has failed in achieving the goal of a a true democratic nature of politics, and, therefore, economic and social realms? How does the media fit in the model of “social participation”?
It has been a pleasure reflecting on these and other issues during the past few months, and gaining positive insights from people with such diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. Hopefully, all these questions will lead us to find answers for our future, at our local, regional, national, and, finally- and this should be the goal- international levels.