We are what we think. We are what we know. We often unconsciously assimilate the stories we hear. They become what we talk about. They form our lives and evolve into our histories.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a mystic, scientist, philiospher, and priest, coined the word “noosphere” to describe the layer of thought that surrounds the earth. He died in 1955–well before today’s Internet and global computer networks. Yet he understood that what we think individually we share collectively. His prescient wisdom about the power of our communication technologies, which we are now witnessing in social media, can guide and inspire the creation of an enlightened newsphere.
Perception is the foundation of Teilhard’s cosmology, his grounding of the human experience, and the premise upon which he builds his explanation of the evolutionary process.
The newsphere places novel yet real and pressing demands on the news consumer now challenged to learn a new version of news literacy to filter the news noise polluting the world of journalism.
We need to learn to SEE news differently…as an ecology. When viewed as an ecology, news is not a product to be consumed but a conscious act to engage with and produce shared information that has value in a community. This is how cultures and societies create their histories.
Given the rise of 24/7 news cycles and smart phones, the job of the journalist has changed dramatically. “The new journalist is no longer deciding what the public should know. She is helping audiences make order out of it. This does not mean simply adding interpretation or analysis to news reporting. The first task of the new journalist/sense maker, is to verify what information is reliable and then order it so people can grasp it efficiently,” write Kovach and Rosensteil in their Elements of Journalism.
Quite simply, the public needs help sorting the truth for itself over time.