Discussion, Not Journalism

by October 30, 2008 • 0 comments

PCBDaily.com is an excellent example of home-town blogs that have popped up all over the world, connecting members of communities like never before.  It is a place where citizens and community leaders can have a platform to voice their opinions and share valuable experiences in regards to local life.

I had a friend recently say, “so you’re playing journalist now…”  No, I am not trying to be a self-taught journalist (even though I did take a couple journalism classes at the mighty University of Alabama). I am playing “citizen participant” in the new world of online democracy.  This is a discussion, not journalism.  This is not trying to be traditional news media, it is trying to put new ideas on the table, up for discussion by all affected.

And why wouldn’t you participate if you care about our local way of life?

The very first question I asked the existing TDC Board when they formed was, “have you folks ever heard of a blog?”  In the aftermath of the previous board being dismantled for apparent disregard for “Sunshine Laws“, I was shocked to find that the TDC Board was making seven-figure decisions meeting just an hour or two a month.  I thought certainly one member could call another to discuss things such as creative messaging and media buys.  But they “cannot.”

I suggested a blog would be perfect for the leaders and their constituents to share ideas and concerns,  eventually producing a clear decision from the majority.  Isn’t that Democracy?  But I was told that the TDC could not have a blog.

But now we have new resources such as PCBDaily.com, a private, yet public entity that does not have to fall under any special sunshine laws or restrict leaders from voicing their opinions and solutions to move forward as a community.

We have seen several leaders make comments and suggestions on PCBDaily.com, and ask that all members of the community — especially the elected and appointed leaders — consider posting your thoughts and solutions here in this forum. Your role in reporting the “good news” to traditional news media is expected and tolerated, but your role in having open dialogue with your constituents is becoming a reality.

Eventually, leaders in Bay County and communities throughout the U.S.A. must participate in open dialogues such as these.  Otherwise, you’ll never last long in that leadership position.

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