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Y2K Media Issues

How should Y2K activists engage with the media?
What is the best role for the media in Y2K?
What is the impact of Y2K on the media?
What transformation is possible here, for the media and our relationship to it?

Media Y2K Websites
Media Y2K Quotes
Media Y2K Events and Conferences
Examples of useful Y2K stories (and other good news)

Official 60 Minutes Transcript, the official and complete transcript of the May 23, 1999 60 Minutes segment on Y2K; look at how local governments, including Washington, DC, are less prepared for a possible Y2K crash than many think.

More Y2K Senate Testimony: Kerry Brock, Director of Broadcasting, Media Studies Center

Reporting the Future, Y2K: Perspectives and Resources for the Media by Candace Feit

A Plea to Journalists by Larry Sanger

How the media can make or break our society's encounter with Y2K by Tom Atlee

A Dialogue about Y2K and the Media - with Tom Atlee and others: a rich compendium of thoughts, stories and suggestions

A Dialogue about a Y2K Media conference? - with Tom Atlee and others

Y2K paternalism, democracy and responsible openness - by Tom Atlee

Media & Y2K community - the wake-up connection - by Alan Jones

Media, The Millennium Bug & The Stories We Tell by Larry Shook

New Yorkers speak out on Y2K media coverage by Paul Eisenberg

Rebuttles to Time Magazine's Awful Y2K coverage

May The Truth Be With You -- Selective Disclosures And Missed Opportunities May Have Fostered Unrealistic Expectations About Solving Year 2000 Problems by Leon A. Kappelman

A case of killing the messenger

Missing the story that's in front of your eyes

The need for "Y2K Movement" Media
by Tom Atlee

A report on the 2/23 NYC Y2K seminar for journalists

I don't often pass on the Y2K Newswire material; they do good research, but their breathless critiques are designed to raise panic (I can feel it in my body as I read their news releases) which I don't consider healthy. But they've done an interesting analysis of media, corporate and government spin-work on their Jan 28, 1999, page. (At the same time, you can compare the tone of their article with that of most of the other articles on this page.)

Media Y2K Websites

The American News Service (ANS) has a Y2K Bureau focusing on grassroots Y2K work in communities.
Foundation for American Communications (FACS) has a website for journalists working on Y2K.

Media Y2K Quotes

"I plead guilty to journalistic incompetence for ignoring what may be one of the decade's big stories: the Year 2000 problem.... For the press, I grasp the difficulties of covering this story. It's mostly hypothetical....[so] anyone writing about it now is shoved uneasily toward one of two polar positions: reassuring complacency (fixes will be made); or hysterical alarmism (the world will collapse)....We can deny the possibilities and pray they don't materialize. Or we can pay attention and hope to minimize them. Either way, the year 2000 won't wait." -- Robert J. Samuelson, "Computer Doomsday?" Washington Post, May 6, 1998

"The Y2K business ... is full of misinformation, hype, fear mongering and exaggeration. Certainly some of that is crass, self-promoting hype by such entities as consulting and programming shops, which stand to benefit from spreading fear about Y2K meltdowns. But a tragic if understandable backlash has begun against Y2K warnings that is ultimately even more destructive: the claim that Y2K is a myth, a nonissue that will go away if the loudmouths will just shut up. It will not. It is real. I believe Y2K will be the single biggest business crisis many of us will face in our lifetimes.... I've avoided writing a Y2K Fears column until now because I find it unseemly to be associated with the sky-is-falling types. I've been confident that American business, indeed global business, would address this problem early, aggressively, effectively. I was wrong. They didn't. We didn't." -- Jim Seymour, "The Hidden Side(s) of Y2K," PC Magazine, February 10, 1998

"The basic choice for the media is to focus less on the zany and outlandish stories of a few individuals which are of little lasting value, and choose instead to serve the public interest and tell the stories that will have real value to people trying to understand what they can do. Those stories are out there, and they make good copy. Underneath the hype and the apocalyptic fear, there are a whole LOT of people acting with extraordinary decency and neighborly concern, working to see that their communities work through this problem and come out stronger for it." -- Paul Andrews of The United Religions Initiative, January 27, 1999

"Why did we go into this business? Although journalists are often perceived to be cynics, I believe that most of us are idealists. We see journalism as a way of participating creatively and constructively in the life of our society and our times, and we see it as a public service and public trust. What are the deadening impulses that keep us from that creative core? So many things -- the gods of profit, competition, power, vanity, etc. The material gods have always been a value in this business, but more and more they are becoming the only values in this business, separating us from the sacred gods of service, justice and now, more often in the mainstream media, of truth." -- Joan Konner, Publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review, in their September/October 1998 issue.

Media Y2K Events & Conferences

FACS Journalism Conference: Reporting the Y2K Story
May 3, 1999 - San Jose, CA

Event/Conference Archive
Reporting the Y2K Story: A seminar for working journalists
February 23, 1999 - New York City

For a report on this event...