“Active Voice Bus”

Home page of the Jamaica Observer February 13, 2011

This morning I woke up to history – a blog had made the front page of a Jamaican newspaper!  No – it gets better – it made the front page of the Sunday paper. In an era of online newspapers – I only buy the paper once a week – Sunday. Judging from the sheer increase in newspaper sellers on Sunday, I know I am not alone!  Until the entirety of Sunday papers are put online, I will continue to buy Sunday papers, but I digress.

Annie Paul’s – blogger on Active Voice anniepaulose.wordpress.com –  made the front page. For weeks, Jamaicans have been subjected to news stories about Dog Paw and his gang, including to the freeing of his lieutenant by the police!! – but again I digress. Yet it only said the gang was notorious; that they were persons of interest and the police were looking for them. However, the story was never delved into – where did these men come from? Did they emerge from the womb armed? Why did they take this life turn – one constantly filled with the danger of detection and capture? The media even missed obvious stories – the one about Leah. Annie Paul went further – she looked for non-obvious story – Dog Paw, Diana McCauley and the link with Dog Heart . A blogger started putting clothes on a story Jamaicans hear ad nauseum of the bad men. The original post is at http://bit.ly/gJwPPM and the Observer story at http://bit.ly/ftAXQK

Active Voice Post on Dog Paw and Diana McCauley

They are two key points to be gotten from this historic development:

– traditional media has embraced electronic/social media. True, the newspapers have gone online; gotten twitter accounts and

Silicon Caribe's article on Jamaicansmusic.com

Facebook pages – but was it an exchange of information? One gets the impression that the point was to get information out to us, the readers. Today, they put an audience member’s information and story and gave it pride of place – with full acknowledgment. I have seen stories before taken/culled from local blogs – but with no credit given.  There was a story about the Facebook fanbase of jamaicansmusic.com surpassing that of Digicel Jamaica turning up in the papers (http://bit.ly/dSGKz1)  without any acknowledgment to Silicon Caribe (http://bit.ly/hfuGNj) – who wrote the piece 6 days before. Maybe it was coincidence.

– it is not a zero sum game. It is not ‘new’ media vs. traditional media. It is reaping the benefits of both types. Would I want all newspapers to become a twitter timeline? No, I like the stories as well as the headlines. Would I want bloggers to replace newspapers? No, I like the focus of bloggers and the broad sweep of newspapers though in-depth analysis in newspaper articles would be great, but I digress.

The title of this article is a quote from Annie Paul herself this morning in response to my congrats a la Twitter. She also sums up this moment best – ” what the Jamaican media is realizing belatedly is that blogs contain news too…stories they’ve overlooked are buried in blogs”

Congrats to Annie Paul and the Jamaica Observer!! Look for @anniepaul and @jamaicaobserver . To read the original blog post  – http://bit.ly/gJwPPM


6 thoughts on ““Active Voice Bus””

  1. I religiously get the Jamaica Observer and the Gleaner on a Sunday. I normally take up the Observer first and scan the pages for items of interest. Today, however, you can imagine my shock when I read that one of the major articles of this issue was influenced by Annie Paul and her blog. I literally dropped everything and immediately called one of my best friends. I am so proud of both Annie and the Observer. Why? Annie’s achievement by having her blog essentially published in significant portions as opposed to being paraphrased or used for inspiration marks a bold new era in the credibility of Jamaican bloggers. Similarly, the fact that The Observer was progressive enough to acknowledge and use the content of a blogger testifies to its modern outlook on journalism; following in the footsteps of other publications around the world. The article was insightful, interesting and relevant. I hope that this will inspire Jamaican bloggers to keep reaching for new heights in their posts and outlook.

    Congratulations Annie. As you should know by now, I love your work and hope you”ll continue to advance blogging here in Jamaica.

    This is truly a historic moment.

    Hey bloggers, we’ve arrived. 🙂

  2. I am glad that the Observer has the foresight to feature Annie’s mega scoop in the way it did. There have been too many instances where traditional media has expropriated stories from blogs without acknowledging where they got it.

    So for me, this is not ‘the arrival moment.’ That occurred some time ago. What I hope, is that it signifies the emergence of a new type of respect between old and new media.

  3. @Astley I agree with you that this is not a new phenomenon – hence the jamaicansmusic.com example.

    @Corve I am a big fan of Annie’s blog as well. But like you, it was a surprise – a welcome one. It inspired me to blog – not my most steady undertaking! I hope it is, as Astley says, “the emergence of a new type of respect between old and new media”

  4. It’s still a first though, the first fully acknowledged creation of a story from a blog…not just taking the idea mind you, but actually basing the story on the blogpost. They didn’t really have a choice, Diana refused to give them an interview so they had to come to me, my only condition was that prominent accreditation be given to Active Voice…

  5. @Annie Love the standing of the ground! I hope a new norm has been started – the accreditation of blogs as the source of the story. I believe reporters might have thought giving credit diminished their own credibility – in my eyes, it shows how well- and widely-read they are!

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