fourth estate

wikipedia small

The Fourth Estate (or fourth power) is a segment of society that wields an indirect but significant influence on society even though it is not a formally recognized part of the political system. The most commonly recognized part of the fourth estate is the news media, or press.


The term fourth estate derives from traditional European concept of the three estates of the realm: the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners.


adding page this day (from danah boyd):

I wrote an essay for @Medium’s Trust series about “The Messy Fourth Estate.” It’s about my frustration with the current state of journalistic responsibility. Check it out and push back. This is me struggling with a topic out loud. <grin>

Original Tweet:

For the second time in a week, my phone buzzed with a New York Timesalert, notifying me that another celebrity had died by suicide. My heart sank. I tuned into the Crisis Text Line Slack channel to see how many people were waiting for a counselor’s help. Volunteer crisis counselors were pouring in, but the queue kept growing

reporting on Robin Williams’ death triggered an additional 10 percent increase in suicide and a 32 percent increase in people copying his method of death.

Please read this to challenge me, debate me, offer data to show that I’m wrong. I think we’ve got an ugly fight in front of us, and I think we need to get more sophisticated about our thinking, especially in a world where foreign policy is being boiled down to 140 characters.

determined to push boundaries and make sense of adult hypocrisy.

Countless organizations and movements exist to pick you up during your personal tornado and provide structure and a framework.

tornado’s they’ve (ie: school, work, military, religion, ..) have created

Where there be dragons is when these processes are weaponized, when these processes are designed to produce societal hatred alongside personal stability. After all, one of the fastest ways to bond people and help them find purpose is to offer up an enemy.

thurman interconnectedness law

Each of these institutions justifies itself by blaming someone or something to explain why they’re not actually that powerful, why they’re actually the victim. And so they’re all poised to be weaponized in a cultural war rooted in how we stabilize American insecurity. And if we’re completely honest with ourselves, what we’re really up against is how we collectively come to terms with a dying empire. But that’s a longer tangent.

but maybe the only way to get to peace.. ie: roots of healing ..a nother way to live.. via  2 convos

Everyone needs someone to hold them when their world spins, whether that person be a friend, family, mentor, or stranger.

missing piece #2

Fifteen years ago, when parents and the news media were panicking about online bullying, I saw a different risk. I saw countless kids crying out online in pain only to be ignored by those who preferred to prevent teachers from engaging with students online or to create laws punishing online bullies. We saw the suicides triggered as youth tried to make “It Gets Better” videos to find community, only to be further harassed at school.

indeed.. we have to go deeper..


When I look around at who’s “holding” these youth, I can’t help but notice the presence of people with a hateful agenda. And they terrify me, in no small part because I remember an earlier incarnation.

the death of us

What’s most striking is how many people with extreme ideas are willing to spend time engaging with folks who are in the tornado.

jihad (doc) et al

Doctorow creates these oppositional positions to make a point and to highlight that there is a war over epistemology, or the way in which we produce knowledge…t

i’d say it’s even deeper.. ie: we need the energy of 7bn alive people first..  otherwise nothing is legit.. we have to get back to an undisturbed ecosystem.. first..

The reality is much messier, because what’s at stake isn’t simply about resolving two competing worldviews. Rather, what’s at stake is how there is no universal way of knowing,..t

i see that as a perfect opp for another way to listen.. ie: weinberger too big misc law

Contemporary propaganda isn’t about convincing someone to believe something, but convincing them to doubt what they think they know. And once people’s assumptions have come undone, who is going to pick them up and help them create a coherent worldview?

maybe we don’t need to.. maybe we just need to give everyone.. time and space to listen to their own coherence.. and trust that.. (to me this is why we haven’t yet..- gotten to global equity)

The democracy that we have is representational only in ideal, not in practice.

i think that is one of our disturbances.. thinking we need to rep people.. esp today.. ie: public consensus always oppresses someone(s)

Journalism can only function as the fourth estate when it serves as a tool to voice the concerns of the people and to inform those people of the issues that matter.

But let’s be real — even as news organizations articulate a commitment to the concerns of everyone, newsrooms have done a dreadful job of becoming more representative.

again.. begs we quit rep ing

People want to be informed, but who they trust to inform them is rooted in social networks, not institutions. The trust of institutions stems from trust in people. The loss of the local paper

imagining if we got back to an undisturbed ecosystem.. being informed would take on a whole new realm/meaning.. ie: self-talk as data

No amount of fact-checking will make up for a widespread feeling that coverage is biased

another reason to spend our days.. listening to our hearts (perhaps that original text).. to all the voices.. rather than depending/following the noise/shiny

I watched my mother nearly drown, and the scars are still visible all over her body.

Like today’s post-college youth are learning, loans aren’t there to help you be smart, but to bend your will.

This does not mean that you can’t build a sustainable news business, but if the news is beholden to investors trying to extract value, it’s going to impossible.

Untangling our country from this current version of capitalism is going to be as difficult as curbing our addiction to fossil fuels. (from earlier: There are many types of capitalism. After all, the only thing that defines capitalism is the private control of industry (as opposed to government control).)

I’m not sure it can be done, but as long as we look at companies and blame their business models without looking at the infrastructure in which they are embedded, we won’t even begin taking the first steps

why not zoom out and do that with the world.. go deep enough to get to a problem 7bn people would resonate w/today.. and look at (and change) that infrastructure..  (sans money)

In my mind, we have a hard road ahead of us if we actually want to rebuild trust in American society and its key institutions (which, TBH, I’m not sure is everyone’s goal). .t

yeah.. we have to find something that every heart is already craving.. and then leap to that.. if we want the sync to sustain us

There are three key higher-order next steps, all of which are at the scale of the New Deal.

1\ business structure..t

let’s try this: short bp

2\ rebuild social networks..t

let’s try this: 2 convos as infra

3\ new ways of holding people..t

let’s focus on this: maté basic needs

 Look around. Who is helping us find solid ground?

exactly the dilemma.. we aren’t quiet enough to see/hear.. begs a mech to listen to all the voices (has to be all of them).. everyday.. (has to be new/fresh/free/quiet.. everyday)

as it could be..

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way


AFP Beirut (@AFP_Beirut) tweeted at 2:03 AM – 14 Aug 2018 :
US journalist Austin Tice was kidnapped six years ago today outside Damascus – his whereabouts are unknown @pressfreedom #FreeAustinTice @AFPphoto #Syria (

et al


oz rt

Olivia Alabaster (@OliviaAlabaster) tweeted at 5:27 AM – 28 Aug 2018 :
After Capital Gazette shootings in June, US is ahead of Mexico in number of journalists killed so far this year in line of duty (


CNN (@CNN) tweeted at 5:30 AM – 18 Sep 2018 :
Billionaires love buying newspapers (




Doc Searls (@dsearls) tweeted at 5:46 AM – 12 Oct 2018 :
I’ve never written a word of “content” in my life. Hell, nobody producing meaningful art, science or anything thinks they’re “generating content,” or that people “consume” anything other than food. Bonus links: (

It is essential to note that adtech, by design, doesn’t care about journalism at all. That’s because adtech values a maximized sum of content in the world, regardless of how good that content is or where it comes from. The more content, the more places ads can be run


journalism et al