Rise of the rebel journalist

“News is not journalism if what’s being reported is only meant to extract value from communities as opposed to creating value within them.”

It’s my belief the outcome of the 2016 election will be the genesis of a new form of journalist and journalism. The ill-equipped manner in which the media interacted with the populace and unduly influenced the election has led to the birth of a rebellion for what will be a new journalistic movement in 2017. The author wishes to caution readers that many of the ideas presented might be construed as advocacy or activism, but in an age of fake news, does it really matter?

andrew-ramsammy-2The rebel journalist is someone who, armed with a chosen medium or space, will use their sacred privilege to research and disseminate the purest form of democratic truth and justice, free from restriction. Here is the rebel journalists’ manifesto:

  • The rebel will rise against all forms of prejudice and hate, including racism, homophobia, sexism, bigotry, misogyny, nativism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, ignorance, intolerance, politicism, monolithic ideology, self-righteousness, and venality.
  • The rebel will redefine news, journalism, storytelling, and independent models. News is not journalism if what’s being reported is only meant to extract value from communities as opposed to creating value within them. Rebels will seek out new ways to better connect and engage with their communities, but not solely via technology. They understand that many communities across the nation lack digital connectivity and access to high-speed Internet, and often time the mobile device is the sole computer in the home.
  • Rebels will operate without a nom de plume and will be authentic to themselves and their audiences without acquiescing to anyone or anything. They will be transparent and cognizant of their personal and organizational biases, leverage their privilege for the common good, and be open to fierce criticism — all in the name of offering unwavering service to their communities.
  • Rebels will listen with love and empathy, and create content that drives actions. Rebels will be the beacons and illustrators of solutions, not just illuminators or disseminators of problems. They will be the arbiters and conveners of substantive conversations and debates, surrogates, utilities, and pathfinders for new forms of diverse and civic engagement. Rebels will not just raise their clenched fists, but also grab their pens, cameras, and microphones, to clear the thicketed fields of brush, noise, rhetoric, and perhaps the greatest undermining challenge we face — news fakery.
  • The rebel will also rebel against the owned voice, the public media/NPR/PBS sound, the Ron Burgundys, the-colder-than-Siberia-studio-based-three-camera-airbrushed-skin-detail-minus-seven-Best Buy-flat-panel-topias-of-three-point-lighting, the saccharin-tonedeafness of poorly written, culturally anemic headlines, the copy-and-paste of audio scripts for the web, the host banter, awful segues, throws to live-dead newscasts of stereotyped crime scenes from hours, days, and years ago, and the billboarding of any news as “the most-trusted source.” These are all examples of rusty hooks and relics of the lingua franca of ancient Mesopotamia, lost on audiences who no longer watch and/or listen and perhaps never have and don’t care. Rebels get the best stories without the bells and whistles of sterility. Rebels like keeping it pure.
  • Rebels will rebel from the left, the right, the center, and from any alt position, for these boxes do not provide audiences with enough context and impact related to the actual intention and actions of such words, which create deep divides, subjugation, and polarization. Rebels seek adventure. They enter the belly of the beast, and will often traverse to the other side when it is the least comfortable or safe. We must rebel against journalistic and political politeness and become insubordinate to position and power, as these are requirements of real democracy.
  • Rebels must rebel against journalism’s institutional and structural racism. We must fight against the platitudes of diversity; all of its exoticness and pornographic otherness. Diversity is neither abstract nor finite; it is complex and infinite. One cannot act upon diversity without inclusion, or inclusion without diversity. They are not mutually exclusive. Rebels understand the value of diverse opinions and will not shunt themselves from difference, or become a patsy to conformity. The rebel will champion mentorship and ceaselessly foster the next generation of voices, journalists, and storytellers.
  • Rebels are not immortal. They must practice self-preservation and be whole mentally, physically, and spiritually. The rebel knows that the work of a rebel is taxing. Rebels should consume the works of their peers and competitors voraciously to expand their horizons. It is important to eat healthy, and lessen dependency on foods, drugs, or any crutches used for comfort, to be as clear-minded as possible. Rebels should also learn self-defense techniques, as many of the environments in which they may operate will require them to be trained to handle volatile, fluid, and dynamic situations. The rebel should have a belief in something much bigger than himself or herself, a higher power, from which to seek constant guidance and knowledge. Rebels belong to a community, and should seek out other rebels when they traverse the world in pursuit of their work. Rebels must open their homes, provide safe a passage when other rebels call for help or ask for assistance, and do so generously.
  • The act of rebellion is the truest form and test of democracy and being a rebel journalist is the result of an indivisible calling. The reward for being a rebel is renewed vitality, energy, and a spirit rooted in daily consciousness, knowing that you’ve done everything possible to make the world a better place for all humankind.

Sam Ford   The year we talk about our awful metrics

Alice Antheaume   A new test for French media

Amy O'Leary   Not just covering communities, reaching them

Alberto Cairo   Communicating uncertainty to our readers

Sarah Marshall   Focusing on the why of the click

Richard J. Tofel   The country doesn’t trust us — but they do believe us

Andrew Ramsammy   Rise of the rebel journalist

Liz Danzico   The triumph of the small

Jon Slade   Trusted news, at a premium

Robert Hernandez   History will exclude you, again

Kawandeep Virdee   Moving deeper than the machine of clicks

David Skok   What lies beyond paywalls

Pablo Boczkowski   Fake news and the future of journalism

Priya Ganapati   Mobile websites are ready for reinvention

David Weigel   A test for online speech

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Truthiness in private spaces

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting stratifies into hard layers

Ole Reißmann   Un-faking the news

Amy Webb   Journalism as a service

Dannagal G. Young   The return of the gatekeepers

Zizi Papacharissi   Distracted journalism looks in the mirror

Taylor Lorenz   “Selfie journalism” becomes a thing

Jim Friedlich   A banner year for venture philanthropy

Nathalie Malinarich   Making it easy

Liz McMillen   The year of deep insights

Trushar Barot   API or die

Bill Keller   A healthy skepticism about data

Scott Dodd   Nonprofits team up for impact

Umbreen Bhatti   A sense of journalists’ humanity

Swati Sharma   Failing diversity is failing journalism

Francesco Marconi   The year of augmented writing

Ståle Grut   The battle for high-quality VR

Amie Ferris-Rotman   Вслед за Россией

Molly de Aguiar   Philanthropists galvanize around news

Michael Kuntz   Trust is the new click

Emily Goligoski   Incorporating audience feedback at scale

Carrie Brown-Smith   We won’t do enough

Moreno Cruz Osório   The year of transparency in Brazilian journalism

Annemarie Dooling   UGC as a path out of the bubble

Ken Schwencke   Disaggregation and collection

Caitlin Thompson   High touch, high value

Nicholas Quah   Podcasting’s coming class war

Steve Henn   The next revolution is voice

Carla Zanoni   Prioritizing emotional health

Jonathan Stray   A boom in responsible conservative media

Javaun Moradi   What can we own?

Claire Wardle   Verification takes center stage

Adam Thomas   The coming collaboration across Europe

Ryan McCarthy   Platforms grow up or grow more toxic

Maria Bustillos   “It’s true — I saw it on Facebook”

Dan Gillmor   Fix the demand side of news too

M. Scott Havens   Quality advertising to pair with quality content

Hillary Frey   Forests need to burn to regrow

Ray Soto   VR moves from experiments to immersion

Christopher Meighan   Unlocking a deeper mobile experience

Geetika Rudra   Journalism is community

Millie Tran   International expansion without colonial overtones

Emi Kolawole   From empathy to community

Juliette De Maeyer and Dominique Trudel   A rebirth of populist journalism

Erin Millar   The bottom falls out of Canadian media

Doris Truong   Connecting with diverse perspectives

Alexis Lloyd   Public trust for private realities

Keren Goldshlager   Defining a focus, and then saying no

Libby Bawcombe   Kids board the podcast train

Almar Latour   Thanks, #fakenews

Laura Walker   Authentic voices, not fake news

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-checking bot

Coleen O'Lear   Back to basics

Samantha Barry   Messaging apps go mainstream

Felix Salmon   Headlines matter

Mandy Velez   The audience is the source and the story

Tim Herrera   The safe space of service journalism

Ashley C. Woods   Local journalism will fight a new fight

Cindy Royal   Preparing the digital educator-scholar hybrid

Rachel Sklar   Women are going to get loud

Matt Waite   The people running the media are the problem

An Xiao Mina   2017 is for the attention innovators

Asma Khalid   The year of the newsy podcast

Guy Raz   Inspiration and hope will matter more than ever

Tressie McMillan Cottom   A path through the media’s coming legitimacy crisis

Jonathan Hunt   Measurement companies get with the times

Renée Kaplan   Pure reach has reached its limit

Julia Beizer   Building a coherent core identity

Erin Pettigrew   A year of reflection in tech

Megan H. Chan   Cultural reporting goes mainstream

Joanne Lipman   The year of the drone, really

Melody Kramer   Radically rethinking design

Mathew Ingram   The Faustian Facebook dance continues

Nushin Rashidian   A rise in high-price, high-value subscriptions

Errin Haines   Chaos or community?

Tanya Cordrey   The resurgence of reach

Mike Ragsdale   A smarter information diet

Tim Griggs   The year we stop taking sides

Corey Ford   The year of the rebelpreneur

Jeremy Barr   A terrible year for Tiers B through D

Katie Zhu   The year of minority media

Rebekah Monson   Journalism is community-as-a-service

Anita Zielina   The sales funnel reaches (and changes) the newsroom

Sarah Wolozin   Virtual reality on the open web

Mary Meehan   Feeling blue in a red state

Michael Oreskes   Reversing the erosion of democracy

Sara M. Watson   There is no neutral interface

Elizabeth Jensen   Trust depends on the details

Dhiya Kuriakose   The year of digital detoxing

S.P. Sullivan   Baking transparency into our routines

Sue Schardt   Objectivity, fairness, balance, and love

Sydette Harry   Facing journalism’s history

Tracie Powell   Building reader relationships

David Chavern   Fake news gets solved

Mario García   Virtual reality on mobile leaps forward

Andrea Silenzi   Podcasts dive into breaking news analysis

Burt Herman   Local news gets interesting

Reyhan Harmanci   Bear witness — but then what?

Ariane Bernard   Better data about your users

Peter Sterne   A dangerous anti-press mix

Rachel Schallom   Stop flying over the flyover states

Helen Havlak   Chasing mobile search results

Margarita Noriega   From pinning tweets to tweeting pins

Cory Haik   Navigating power in Trump’s America

Lee Glendinning   A call for great editing

Lam Thuy Vo   The primary source in the age of mechanical multiplication

Andrew Haeg   The year of listening

Mark Armstrong   Time to pay up

Andrew Losowsky   Building our own communities

Laura E. Davis   Show your work

Andy Rossback   The year of the user

Kathleen Kingsbury   Print as a premium offering

Vivian Schiller   Tested like never before

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Earn trust by working for (and with) readers

Rubina Madan Fillion   Snapchat grows up

Mira Lowe   News literacy, bias, and “Hamilton”

Dan Colarusso   Let’s make live video we can love

Aja Bogdanoff   Comments start pulling their weight

Mary Walter-Brown   Getting comfortable asking for money

Juan Luis Sánchez   Your predictions are our present

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   News after advertising may look like news before advertising

P. Kim Bui   The year journalism teaches again

Matt Karolian   AI improves publishing

Gabriel Snyder   The aberration of 20th-century journalism

Olivia Ma   The year collaboration beats competition