Conversant Journalism, Thought Leadership and Media’s Tween Years

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I can’t help but get jazzed up seeing how powerful conversant journalism is, and how it is growing up to become the real driver of media’s new paradigm. We’re seeing its entrance into a new adolescence, complete with an awakening of intellect (and gangly limbs and acne).

BusinessWeek, once again, is in the middle of it. Check out their Debate Room, in which two knowledgable parties spar over a subject. Not innovative on its own, I know…point/counterpoint is a mainstay that runs from 1950s telejournalism to the ever-entertaining pages of The Onion. But BusinessWeek opens the forum through its comment function, allowing the debate to continue among readers — the essence of social media, really, infused into an intelligent debate.

The Economist has also tapped into the idea with its Debate Series, although they shut down the commenting function after a certain time period. That makes it “almost great;” forums like these should remain open for long periods of time, perhaps infinitely. Why put a cap on idea flow?

Lest anyone think these debates are simply opportunities for readers to post their thoughts, remember that when journalism isn’t leading us into recessions, it is reflecting society’s ideals. That is the real beauty of these debate arenas. Yes, they give readers a podium, but they also give editors insight. Comments will be reviewed for hidden gems that will turn into investigations that will turn into stories that will turn into trends…which we will comment on.

Thought leaders should take note and take action. They should be wired into these conversations to get a better read on where they stand, what they have to say, and how far they can take their beliefs.

And on we go…

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