Ross Dawson’s Future of Media Summit generated quite a lot of debate on both sides of the Pacific. There was some excellent coverage of the summit from a variety of angles, with Stephen Collins asking What will the future of media look like?, Chris Bishops pondering the business models around monetising future content and Craig Wilson viewing the summit with one eye focused on the Twitter backchannel.

henchmen on tvSeth Yates has provided an excellent summary including notes on all the panels which is a great reference point for those who attended, and those who could not. Reading back through these posts it is clear that the debate shifted to a discussion about future roles, not necessarily future industries. Indeed, much of the discussion falling out of the conference has been around citizen journalists vs professional journalists.

Stilgherrian’s summit coverage, (and the same post at Crikey with a different commentary/discussion), plus Jonathan Este’s response, (which was originally posted on Crikey and reposted on Stilgherrian’s blog with comments) turned the heat up on this debate.

ATHLETE Director Dave's Pics - A Frenzy in Gotham: The PremiereClearly this is an emotion-charged discussion. And while it is a discussion that needs to take place, it strikes me that we are being bogged down in a debate that may be solved by refocusing our cognitive surplus in another direction — finding an innovative way of delivering value across the chasm between the "traditional" and "social" media groups. In fact, finding a way of bringing journalists and new media practitioners together may be the best way forward.

Last week I saw a link to Peter Shankman’s Help a Reporter site. It is a site designed to connect reporters with credible and expert news sources (and yes, that includes bloggers). It is opt-in. It’s a site that uses technology to provide value to a community that, in many ways, does not yet exist. It is well facilitated. But I wonder, is this something that would work here in Australia? It certainly could, and should.

But participation costs. It means leaving your shoes at the door. It means rolling up our sleeves and reshaping the media industry from the ground up. It is not the total solution, but it is a first step. What do you think? Would you help a reporter?