The Electronic Democracy is a place where everyone’s ideas, thoughts, values etc. are expressed and taken into consideration or simply expressed via electronically. In today’s age electronically means anything over the Web, whether it is video, blogging, podcasts, software development, creating or changing of data, etc. Newsrooms have taken note of the electronic phenomena and are beginning to jump on board, “change course or go under,” (Howe, 2007).
We are on a wave of a journalism revolution, so much technology and a need for value, (9/3/09). In order to get a job in journalism one must be versed not only in typical skills such as reporting, writing, newsgathering etc. but one must now be educated in the world of multimedia. This world of multimedia opens the door to the public. Uploading, has breached the gap between the reporter reporting the news and the consumer consuming the news, (Friedman, 93).
In 2006 Gannett embraced the idea of involving/using the public more to their benefit and to the public’s gain. “The Web was to become the primary vehicle for news, with frequent, round-the-clock updates. The newsroom would be rechristened the Information Center, while traditional departments like Metro and Business would give way to the Digital and Community Conversation desks. Photographers would be trained to shoot video, which would be posted online. Investigations would no longer be conducted by a coven of professionals working in secret. Instead, they'd be crowd sourced — farmed out to readers who'd join in the detective work,” (Howe, 2007). This idea of opening the newsroom and inviting the public in to contribute only broadens the marketplace of ideas. By broadening the marketplace of ideas, we are in essence supporting the basic fundamentals of the Libertarian Theory through Milton’s eyes. When the marketplace is broadened by an influx of ideas, whether right or wrong, the truth will rise, (Gade Lecture Notes, 9/28/09).
One of the hardest things for journalists is to be completely objective, divorced from our own thoughts, ideas, values, bias, etc. When the door is opened to the public it shatters the longtime problem the public has had with the media, which is that the media is not good at telling us what to think but good at telling us what to think about, (Gade Lecture Notes, (10/8/09). With the electronic boom, the power has shifted into the hands of the audience. The audience now has control on setting the Media’s Agenda all because the journalists reached out to connect with their audience and the audience connected back. " ‘We must mix our content with professional journalism and amateur contributions,’ read one of the PowerPoint slides prepared by Gannett execs. ‘The future is pro-am,’ " (Howe, 2007).
In order to best serve the democracy the media and journalists must embrace and help cultivate the marketplace. The press best serves a democracy when they keep everything especially a democracy’s government in check. With this new electronic era the media have only strengthened their role as a watchdog because it has embraced the value of being independent from faction, (Gade Lecture Notes, 10/8/09). The attitude of becoming more involved in the process rather than just watching the outcome “is indicative of the larger shift in the Internet age away from a static and passive approach to media to an active and participatory approach. It is more fun to be in the game than to watch the game,” (Friedman, 125).