by Brett Pierce


mosaic-3394375__480In 2020, just weeks before the pandemic swept through America, I had the privilege to attend the 2020 Camden Conference in Maine. Moderated by NPR’s David Brancaccio, the theme of that year’s conference was The Media Revolution: Changing the World.

One of the keynote speakers was a Harvard professor named Nicco Mele. A brilliant mind. One of the simple ideas he presented was this:

  1. The Internet has diffused power away from institutions and traditional ‘knowledge makers’: journalists, teachers, librarians, media producers.
  2. That power has been diffused to a) individuals; and b) algorithms.

Now, there is much to unpack in that primal perspective on this ever-evolving reality. I am not going to jump down the ‘algorithm’ rabbit hole at this moment in time. My particular interest rests with this conclusion about ‘individuals.’

We all fundamentally do know this. We understand that the Internet has provided youth (and others) with a voice; a platform to be published; the democratization of being heard. Etc.

But I hadn’t seen this bigger picture – the diffusion of knowledge, away from curated expertise …to everyone. Our students — the future — included.

It’s illuminating, explosive and a tad frightening. AND, it points to the critical importance of educating our youth to be media creators who disseminate knowledge responsibly and thoughtfully.

The responsibility for shouldering power is shifting. Teaching toward that shift is vital.

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