How is journalism evolving in ways that might serve the movement for systemic change?  Many traditional news outlets are struggling, new media venues are proliferating and the ability to "publish" is now available to anyone with an internet connection.  A "new news ecology" emerging.   

  • What does this new news ecology look like?
  • What are the opportunities for us to play an active role in its continuing evolution?  
  • How does the idea of a New Story that we have been exploring in the Cafe recently connect with this opportunity?  


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We are delighted to welcome author and consultant Peggy Holman back to Occupy Cafe.  Last time Peggy was with us, we explored the idea of leadership in a leaderless movement, based on the insights in her wonderful book, Engaging Emergence.  This time, we explore an area in which emergence is especially accessible and relevant: journalism. Peggy is a co-founder of Journalism that Matters, and we look forward to discussing together what is working now, what is possible and how we might choose to engage in this terrain.

This excerpt from the Journalism that Matters (JTM) website helps to set the context for our conversation:

Who belongs to JTM and what is the new news ecology?

JTM members include reporters, bloggers, editors, citizen journalists, publishers, media educators, community activists, tweeters, videographers, social entrepreneurs, photographers, reformers and volunteer journalists from print, broadcast, and online media, both mainstream and entrepreneurial. Individually and collectively we are working hard to reinvent ourselves as well as the overall news medium, including investigating new economic models to support a healthy, vibrant journalism community.

The New News Ecology is the information exchange amongst the public, the government and institutions that informs inspires, engages, and activates the community. JTM  cornerstone concepts of the new news ecology include:

  • Journalism as a conversation – a groundbreaking shift from journalism as a lecture
  • Shaping a new “cultural narrative” – Recovering the mythic role of journalists as conveners and navigators through a changing world prepares them to support communities in shaping a new national “master narrative” for our times.
  • High tech/high touch journalism – Whether on the web or in the café, new storytelling forms are emerging that engage us on cell phones and iPods, and in gathering places with food, music and the arts.
  • Ready, Fire, Aim – A strategy of “just do it,” moving from idea (ready) to implementation (fire) and then watching the results and adjusting (aim).   This formula creates rapid experimentation and learning and avoids analysis paralysis.
  • Expanding the questions we ask – Adding to the normal who, what, where, when, how, and why, asking questions like “What’s possible now?” expands stories beyond simple information gathering into the realms of inspiration and hope.

As always, we weave conversation via this forum together with the discussions on our Cafe Calls, and we also invite you to discuss these questions in person as well, returning here to share the results.  We start with the following question:

  • What are some examples of the emerging "new news ecology" that inspire you?

Image of Occupy Wall Street Media Center, courtesy of riomaro 

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I blogged recently describing how journalism has taken a courageous and inspirational stance in many cases and authors who've inspired the thinking behind our work on business for social purpose.

There is an emerging form of journalism however that seeks to credit itself with thought leadership, establishing reputation by censoring those who have already walked their talk. The greatest losers are those considered of lesser value who are shovelled into trenches:



"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler."  Albert Einstein

I appreciate your attending and attention to the Occupy Cafe. We are fortunate to have you voice in the cafe AI.  I reviewed the summary notes offered of "The Change Handbook" and the list of possible change agent plays possible in the process is remarkable complexity.  My initial response is reflected in a musing with "Rebecca Henderson's Work on Getting Unstuck in the Corporate Sustainability Conversation."

Designing Living Organizations August 5, 2010, Response to Rebecca Henderson Getting Unstuck: How to Promote More Sustainable Practices in Our Organizations & John Seddon Systems Thinking: Management by Doing the Right Thing

My first observation is directed at “smart professors” who have visions, write books & create theories of learning in systems and management.  I do not know either of these individuals professional work, my concern runs much deeper, than in reductive knowledge, itself, knowledge is failing in universities and is wrongheaded.  Sharing honest ethical assessments with one another is an ethical praxis of personhood of human beings in a safe, secure, creative context where they are naturally open and honest in playfulness joyful concern.  According to Rebecca Henderson only 3% of current leadership in organizations are managing people in an open communicative competent environment and the stressful overload is 200 to 550% on knowledge workers (the worker bees) who increasingly become less, less, less productive as fire fighters of organizational mandates that go nowhere.  Basic bottom line she offers is to have the emotional courageous power & moral juice (ethical awareness in humanness) to take effective action that addresses sustainability.  Saying that happens when we start to be honest in what we are saying to one another in human conversations.

The Occupy Cafe is creating the live speech space and place (splace) for such an innovation! In my humble assessment.

I have a prejudicial scientific bias based in new awareness'es emerging in cognitive science (Bateson, Forrester, Maturana, Verela, Flores) that recently in my own simple learning narrative encountered the Lakota wisdom continuum in oral languaging over 10,000 years old and operating in live living speech acts; such as Wolakota, a treaty of peace and friendship without greed. The distinction appears to be a "change agent" in human behavior in one simple utterance.

I have found the Occupy Cafe an interesting experience as an active World Cafe of Common Ordinary People opening splace for sharing our authentic humanness in the permanent concerns embedded in the cultural matrix breakdowns in a dignified manner of appreciative inquiry "live speech acts" not "dead speech." I submit this is the next journalistic iteration of social networking creating a "clearing for learning in our humanity."  Emotioning is an expansive generative intelligence that breaks the hypnotic trance in the swept along historic cultural mesmerism based in power of structural positions, titles and publications.  Of course, disruptors and change agents in current organizational endeavors are millions of people demanding freedom, independence and self regulation with positive and negative feedback loops in learning together.  It appears the new emergent integrated structure is leaderless opening leading~ship notions where the  intention is not vertical control rather horizantal equanimity in agreed upon learning designing a future together.       

My concern today is sustainability (personally and collectively) in inventing a rigorous robust agreed upon human ecology examining the history that own me and us?  Questions need care more than answers? I observe blind spots and pain points living within the systemic structural cultural historic denial in reductive linear educational discourses, global institutional leadership crisis mismanaging global conversations, and regressive fundamental prejudicial distortions disrupting meaningful learning reflections that border on psychological insanity in humanity surrounding my experience. The Abraham video expressed the emotional contradiction happening with committed peaceful people in confronting evil behaviors in our human experience.  

I embrace the human condition (I, you, we, us), especially poor people living a dollar a day, how do they do that? How do we create a life without a greed for money (Get Money or eat Dirt) as the primary criteria of self organizing learning endeavors?  I find myself all in by embracing poverty in a manner of Wolakota, and I am optimistic that we will thrive in a profound breakthrough with one another in living speech conversations facing off with the global cultural matrix based in greed.  My assessment is that the digital information age has produced "innovation upon innovations in a swept along history suffering in an observer error" and producing an exponential unsustainable demand for change in human nature of people as the problem. My stance is there is nothing wrong with human nature, people and its the historic cultural matrix that is the problem, moving faster, better, cheaper in a simple "observer error" based in romantic historic perceptions of who we are? Kids dislike going to school and adults hate going to work!  I share this poem that has guided my life since 1984 when I was first introduced to pluralistic notion of cognitive understanding in communicative competency:

“There are no more deserts.

There are no more islands. Yet

One feels the need of them.

To understand the world, One

Must sometimes turn away from it,

To serve men better, one must

Hold them briefly at a distance.


But where can the necessary

Solitude be found, the long

Breathing space in which the

Mind gathers its strength

And takes stock of its courage”

Albert Camus

The mistaken organizational technological "observer error" is visible and it takes patient human reflection to see it, not a 140 character twittering universe based in glitter in fantasyland.  Autopoietic perceptions defining the role of a virtual identity, narrative and coordination of coordinations of actions with one another emerging from a profound blind spot in the history that owns us. I invite us to consider historic perception is the quantum breakthrough.  What if, human beings are not the problem at all, and the ecology of the cultural matrix based in arrogant agressive power is the cause of ignorance, death, illness, lack, limitations, dis-ease and so called all problems?  What if, there is no problems only solutions to the historic predicament? What if, the real change needed today is not our environment concern in climate change and gathering CO2 in the atmosphere, rather the gathering of our natural embodied human trust in joyful concern and harnessing living intentional commitments in designing a new world where every child born is viewed as creative generative genius in an emergent humanity?  What if, we listened and heard the deep pain points in our enemies, shadows, and breakdowns, rather than fight to preserve old indoctrinated historic belief systems?  What if, journalists retired as paid expert pundits for corporate mass manufactured media creating "Mountains of Bullshit" called enlightened entertainment? What if, journalism stopped marginalizing human experience, justifying human behaviors in  mechanistic polls, statistics, data, information and spoke from the heart of the matter as authentic "observers" in a manner of dignified ethical vulnerable speech acts based in first person responsibility for what they say?

I own my indignation in this mental reductive mechanized historic western civilization matrix refuse to swim in the nonsense any longer.  It contradicts my humanness and the wisdom that has guided all the units of humanity's pathways for million of years. I say the hardest task before us is owning what owns us in the cultural matrix mistake as beginners in learning.  I object and refuse to be reformed or revolutionized, rather am seeking a renaissance in the spirit of communitarianism.  We are capable of deep profound reflection of what is right in our emotional intelligence as observers and in my assessment the reflection is a heart breaking experience that makes us cry, and regret what we do, when we do, the things we do in dead organizational discourses, institutions and patterns we take for granted with absolute certainty in explaining life and reality.  Please forgive me if you perceive I am critical of your work.  I am speaking to the depth of your own AI and pray for common ground as an  emergent beginning journalist.  

"Listening" by Randall Whitaker CSC presentation Aug 2011.  This is the 6th segment concluding with the "ear" of hearer importance in communication, not necessarily the speaker's articulation. Deep stuff in solving the human condition. The notion that our tenderness, utterances, adorning of one another co create's a triadic new future in unified listening to possible possibilities disclosing old/new worlds capable of reinventing history.  What if, journalists were children serving as "ecological agents" and in school we taught them the skill set of being autoethnographers and really listened to the reports as historical conversations within current events, breakdowns, and possibilities?  Maybe the solution is in creating new relationships with children not current organizations?

"All living experience occurs through conversations and this is where the reality we live originates."  Humberto Maturana

"The Forbidden Education"  Movie (2 hrs 26 min) Maybe the most important ecological journalistic endeavor happening virtually on the Internet.  A new creative commons is possible in learning as beginners in not knowing trusting human experience in solidarity.  Disruptors are good not bad!  The movie is a brilliant reflection on what currently owns us that we are forbidden to see by the cultural matrix surrounding us.  

Thanks Mushin  

Here's a great demonstration of new news ecology   My dear friend Max Schupbach of Deep Democracy Institute interviews an Egyptian man re: his experience of the Arab Spring.  Powerful and upliofting.

Browsing Twitter as I get ready for the call, I learn that Anonymous has released an archive of footage obtained from the NYPD's raid of Zucotti Park on November 15th.  Here's a YouTube video they posted, summarizing a call to action to review the footage for evidence of police malfeasance.  And here's an excerpt from the main post announcing the release of the archive:

The totality of this mini-archive brings home the reality of the amount of surveillance US citizens are subjected to as they exercise their political rights, and this isnt even close to the amount of footage they have taken.
But surveillance cuts both ways...  It can also be used to make the authoroties accountable for their actions.
As you watch the videos in this archive...
We Ask you to take down the badge numbers of those that committed crimes against the peacefull occupation protest.
If the badge is unclear, that nifty number on their storm trooper helmets is the badge number.
Report and makes complaints how you see fit.
We ask you to keep an eye out for glitches in tape, timestamp changes, or other things that just are not quite right with the film.
Make Note Of Them
We ask you seek the truth.
We Ask that you demand for the unedited versions of the tapes.
We ask fellow netzens, that you seek the evidence that proves OWS was in violation of the The Handschu agreement,
Which was won in a class action lawsuit against the NYPD as a result of their inability to uphold constitutional rights.
We ask you to demand they prove that they had lawful use to use the TARU.
Share these clips with the world. Let them see how the United States "Respects" it's citizens First Admendment Right to Peaceful Assembly.
Most people don't relize, most of the "laws" and "rules" that the OWS Encampment "broke", were designed specifically to be against the movement, after the movement began.

Interestingly, I cannot seem to locate the archive itself.  The "temporary Torrent file link provided-- does not work.

Here's another link that just showed up on Twitter.  My McAfee warns me that the site is engaging in "risky behavior."

First Harvest:

We are planetary citizens ... we can be anywhere in the world and talking to every one, necessary to recognize interdependence.

Starting from the goal of peace ... might be easier said than done.

Objectivity - Peggy recommends a book - the Elements of Journalism.  Objectivity was never intended as it is now - making sure all perspectives are included.  The origins of objectivity was looking at a wide range of sources and make sense of it, discern what is going on.  Transparency becoming more of a watch word.

Many people not engaging in media, choosing not to participate.  Can we recreate journalism?   Peggy:  the old system is dying as the new system is being born.  We're at a stage of revisiting the fundamental purpose.

Journalism has been one sided and male dominated.  Need the woman's voice.  Access both (men and women) wisdom's in the world.

Peggy's Talk:

Who does journalism and how journalism is done is in upheaval.   The notion of journalism is designed for us be free and self governing, to help keep us stable.  However, we are in a time of change.

The new news ecology is about navigating change, informing and connecting us with other ideas, inspiring us to get involved.

Jitendra reports that the 10s of thousands of news providers are owned by 3 corporations.

Journalism as a conversation.

Navigate uncertainty.  People are steered away from news because they can't find themselves in it.  We turn to each other, our friends. plan to become the go-to place, half from journalists, half from the community. Has helped the journalists see themselves.  The community wants to be solutions oriented.

The notion of possibility orientation - journalism has had a problem orientation.  Who, what, when, where, why, how - now adding what's possible. based in Canada, all journalism informed by Appreciative Inquiry. 

Bringing in increasingly diverse voices - traditional journalism mainly white and 85% white.  The funding that's going towards experimentation in the new media, is going to the usual suspects. 

2nd Harvest:

To make journalism magnificent we need fusion with education, more humility, feminine point of view, interpretation rather than facts.

No written record of women's history.

We have instant communication. 

There's a depth that we are missing.  Garbage fills the depth that we're trying to grasp.  Becomes violence.

We've become a more visual culture, artists contribute to how storytelling is done, combines left and right brains bringing facts and arts together.

Would like to believe in subjective journalism as something that cannot be changed.  The next Buddha is the community.

Celebrating the wonderful men on this call!  Salute all of us to be who we are.

Closing Harvest:

Releasing fear


Appreciation for every human story

Transparency apparent


How we treat Grandmother Earth is how we treat women

participating and joining in

actions toward solutions

aware ecology, aware democracy

ability to exform, opposite of inform

courage inspiration possibilities

take one step forward together, then another one, and another one

Peggy:  each and every one of us has the capacity to change the world in the stories we tell and our authentic voices, navigating, reaching out, possibilities.  The story of journalism, like each of us and changing times, exciting.

Thank you, Pia, for scribing our harvest today!


Our efforts can be driven by compassion, the golden rule of reciprocity 

We can aim for peace, as I describe here

We can also aim for all children to have a loving family home.

We can do business which transcends production and profit maximisation.


Mushin made a reference during our Cafe Call to the "Chaos on Bulls#%t Mountain" segment The Daily Show ran last week, now online in three segments herehere and here.  Not sure what this tells us about the "new news ecology" but it is very funny stuff, unless of course you're a fan of Fox News.  

And yet... if Fox News seems like old fashioned propaganda/infotainment, can one argue that The Daily Show is something else, since so much of its stock in trade is pointing out the hypocrisy of mainstream media narratives?  This segment about Judith Miller criticizing the White House for leaking information related to "national security" is a great example. Or this brilliant segment following the news that the Obama administration has developed a "kill list" for suspected "terrorists" including American citizens (never mind that messy "due process" business).

Can't view that video here in the UK Ben, but the only kill list I'm aware of is one with 47 million American on it:

The orphans of wealth and of adequate health

Ben, et al

Here is link

Outrage for current public/private mass manufactured media sources is an awakening experience of being stupid couch potatoes giving away personal responsibility for current human conditional situation.  John Steward is truly an artistic new news journalist that uses articulated comedy to release the emotional contradiction we experience in living our daily lives while demanding political solutions by humiliating the arrogant aggression of prejudicial elite political double binds operating the insanity happening.  

We listen to clapping and screaming of the audience and agree in laughter not protesting in despair, resignation, powerlessness, or stuckness in cognitive dissonance.  We feel our greatness together in the humiliating of the bullshit operating positions, titles and publications in the old story.  

I say it's very relevant to the new news media Peggy is pointing to and may be the creative manner in which to have fun as journalists, occupy earth participants, and really bring forth change in the mass manufactured media instantly.  Check out how "John Steward" forced a network to cancel the "Crossfire" political program by being a serious comedic contra varient as a voice of human, reason and serious stance within the issues of current journalistic bullshit we are paying for.

I learn a lot about elite prejudices from Fox News, thank you Fox News!

Latter Mushin 

World Citizens 

Gary Davis presence and passion today was a remarkable event.  Check out "World Government by World Citizens."

My take away is let's go to work write, post and create the new story together with real authentic story telling to relevant permanent human and business concerns.  

Thank you Peggy 


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