Posted by Leah Walters
In the first world, we can’t help but absorb media. We catch headlines on newspapers, read links on Twitter, and check out what our Facebook friends are sharing. It’s easier than ever to keep up with news, and yet we seldom do anything about what we see.
That was the concern that motivated activist Bryn Mooser and journalist David Darg to launch RYOT, a new website that combines news and action.
The news blog posts original content and aggregates stories from Associated Press and Reuters. The twist is that each story features an “action box” that invites readers to donate money, sign a petition or tweet support for a cause.
The story I read about the terrorist organization behind the attack in Nairobi encouraged me to donate to the Kenya Red Cross. Not at all conventional, but very cool.
The beauty of a blog like this is that it draws connections between world events and societal problems, and the potential impact any ordinary person can make. News stories already evoke a reaction; RYOT makes it easy to take action.
I’d like to coin a phrase right now and call this participatory media—okay that may not be original, but bear with me. RYOT’s content is not just thought provoking, it’s engaging on a new level because it gives readers the power to do something.
For Millennials, I think this is particularly appealing. A Forbes article last fall asks: “Are Millennials Lazy or Avant-Garde Activists?” Writer Larissa Faw determines this generation is more engaged in social activism than previous generations because they make it a part of their daily lives.
That’s only possible because of digital technology. In fact, two in three Millennials believe spreading the word online can do more good than a person can by rallying or protesting in the street.
This mindset troubles some people of older generations, but I think with outlets like RYOT it can do a lot of good. If young people are excited to get online to read news and take action, society can only benefit.
RYOT is taking full advantage of digital technology and making an impact in doing so: could this be the future of media? As neat as this is, it could be argued that RYOT is overstepping boundaries by promoting petitions and charitable causes. This is certainly not traditional journalism, but is it okay to modify the role of the media as times change?