This post was originally published at Louie on Media – a fictional blogger created as part of the Jo Bloggs Project. The Jo Bloggs Project (Meet Jo Bloggs) was an experiment in digital storytelling using social networking site Facebook and blogs, and incorporating audio and video created alongside and embedded in the web platform. All the work was carried out as part of this years MediaNet Academy. It was a fantastic course to be part of and I’ll have more to say on it in the future posts.

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It is easy to find tales of woe and long laments about the challenges to traditional values in the media brought on by the rapid rise of digital technology: 24 hour news rooms scrape around for a continual stream of edgy and exciting material, with little concern for anything as trivial as truth, or editorial responsibility; the flood of half thought out comments and blogs on the web drowns out intelligent and well researched analysis

However, there were a few notes of encouragement from speakers at a recent talk at the Churches’ Media Conference, entitled Searching for Values.

Revd Dr James Hanvey suggested that, in fact, a world without extensive and fast media reporting would be a world of ‘dis-truth and manipulation’.

We should be grateful, he argued, that we live in a world that can report on the Tsunami, on Zimbabwe, and on Guantanamo.

His point seems to be that we are better off having these stories told and risking some error and distortion, than living in an information vacuum, or worse, having ‘facts’ dripped down through some Ministry of Truth on high.

Better to have it a little messy, and accept the bad with the good, than to have no good at all.

A little while later, philosopher and journalist Julian Baggini stressed that many of the problems that arise through new media are just old problems in new cloths: we should not proclaim the decline of morals if they have been that way all along.

Whilst this may not seem like a message a hope, he was making a point that was stressed again later on by speaker Sarah Joseph: new technologies may give rise to new evils, but they also give rise to the potential for new good.

It is likely that many of the ethical and moral issues surrounding digital media are not new ones, and there is certainly a place for reflecting on all the positive potential caught up in this evolving area.