If All The World Is A Stage Then I Have Front Row Seats
Of all the changes that have occurred since I started interning at Berkman, the most profound has to be my outlook on media and the news. Having lived in rural Upstate New York for most of my life, with a brief stint in rural Virginia, I am use to the news reporting on a distinct and distant world. I would watch the news and I would be interested, but rarely would I find that my personal life or the lives of those around me would be directly impacted by what I had watched. If effects were felt, they would be weeks or months after the fact, which lead to the feeling that there was no correlation between the world that I lived in and the world that the news reported on. It was as if the world that the news reported on was contained entirely in the glass tube of my television.
Now I have moved to Boston, and everything has changed. Berkman is a place where one is enveloped in news. Some of the world's brightest minds are here researching the spread of news on Internet services such as Twitter, cataloging news articles from all over the world, and figuring out how to make as much quality and free (as in speech) news accessible to as many people as possible. All of this makes Berkman a great place to be when news hits. Discovering the news becomes more than just watching CNN or cruising Google News, it becomes observing the environment around me. The center develops a controlled frenzy; academic conversations occur just minutes after a story breaks and planning begins on blog posts, reports, and research projects. In short, tangible changes occur around me. Hell, even my day to day life has been affected by the news.
The changes go beyond how the news affects my world, as I have also seen my world affect the news. I have seen an Internet expert speak on national television just hours after attending a presentation he gave. I've had the privilege of witnessing the release of a report (along with its on-the-fly media campaign,) responding to the media's obsession with Twitter and current events. And pretty much any time there is a breaking story, I can expect to see articles from Berkman fellows and staff analyzing the story or the spread of the story.
All in all, I feel like I have gone from the nose bleeds to the front row of this production known as "The News." I don't think I paid for front row tickets; I must have snuck up here. I'll have to keep my eyes open for the ushers.