The introduction I wrote for our seminal We Media report is soon to be part of the educational lexicon in France. Here’s what I wrote in 2003:
“There are three ways to look at how society is informed. The first is that people are gullible and will read, listen to, or watch just about anything. The second is that most people require an informed intermediary to tell them what is good, important or meaningful. The third is that people are pretty smart; given the means, they can sort things out for themselves, find their own version of the truth.
The means have arrived. The truth is out there.
Throughout history, access to news and information has been a privilege accorded to powerful institutions with the authority or wealth to dominate distribution. For the past two centuries, an independent press has served as advocate for society and its right to know — an essential role during an era of democratic enlightenment.
It feels like a new era has been thrust upon us — an era of enlightened anxiety. We now know more than ever before, but our knowledge creates anxiety over harsh truths and puzzling paradoxes.”
Still rings true. The moment and the movement have overtaken the forecast, but We Media (300,000+ downloads) continues to serve “as the reference point for any serious discussions of this topic …” David Weinberger, the visionary technologist-commentator-author wrote back then.
Didier Editions asked to republish the intro in a collection of English textbooks called Password Terminale for French students 17-18 years old.
We said oui.