As Lotan noted, the most effective way to give voice to a broader population is to make sure it’s possible to find them, since everything published online is equally accessible but not equally findable; Steve Waldman noted that there are many community-related blogs in affluent Park Slope, Brooklyn, but few in poorer East New York. Thus the low-income bloggers likely get lost in Brooklyn’s search results.

To me, the future of good journalism depends more on visibility, or “find-ability,” of smart content. We need to help engineers counter biases inadvertently programmed into search engines and algorithms. And journalists must recognize, to paraphrase researcher danah boyd, that we are only using tiny portions of social networks and that relevant sources exist beyond them. We journalists may lose relevance unless we learn to work within rules we don’t always get to make.

 

Kira Goldenberg is an associate editor at CJR.