When Newspapers or News Broadcasters use the Internet to engage with the audience it’s usually no more than “Send us your pictures”, or “Tell us what you think”. I’m Editor New Media in BBC Northern Ireland and the response I get from the audience to the “Tell us what you think” is “I don’t care what they think. If I care what someone thinks, I prefer it is someone with an informed opinion rather than just an opinion.”
That’s what I was going to cover in this post, until I saw this. “Newly discovered JFK assassination items revealed” (Free sign in required) The Dallas Morning News sets it up like a drama – which to some extent it is.
An old safe is discovered in a Dallas courthouse. Once opened, its contents reveal a secret cache of files related to the death of President John F. Kennedy. There is an assassin’s gun holster, brass knuckles and a transcript of a "smoking gun" conversation to kill the president.
You can read the whole story on the Dallas Morning News Site. (BTW, although the internet now allows me to read newspapers I would never have dreamed of, I’m not a regular of the Dallas Morning News and should credit Cybersoc for pointing to this story.)
I know public participation in public broadcasting is important; it’s just sometimes I wish we in the Main Stream Media were more creative about how the public and they (we, of course) can work together. The classic public participation on the internet was – and still is – SETI @ Home which helped and still helps scientists use your idle computer time by linking your computer to a grid. There is an idea floating around (perhaps now in operation) to use the power of CATCHPAs (that little test you get in some online forms to test whether you are a human). Part of the CATCHPA would also be part of a mathematical formula and by copying in letters/digits you would join with millions of others to perform a calculation. Don’t ask me for details, I’m only a DJ that made good.
This interesting thing about both the SETI and CATCHPA projects is that they are scientists asking for your help not your opinion. MSM only seem to be interested in your opinion (oh, and your photos).
Dallas Morning News are going the way of the scientists and in what would appear to be a very exciting way. On This page they describe the idea
Below is one, large chunk of the documents. In the coming days, dallasnews.com will share more of them for your review. The documents contained here are those that the district attorney’s office made available in electronic form – an estimated 90 percent of all the documents from the vault. Another 10 percent had not yet been scanned when these files were released to The Dallas Morning News. The contents include transcripts, personal and official letters, newspaper clippings, lists of jurors, police reports, rap sheets, autopsy reports, trial notes, police notebooks, photographs and much more. The documents appear here exactly as they were received by The News . They are neither cataloged nor indexed, and they are in no apparent order. Given the volume, we haven’t been able to review most of the files. That’s why were calling on you. Here’s your chance to review never-seen-before materials related to the JFK assassination.
So – I’m tempted to ask – what do you think?
I’d rather know what you found.