One of the most bizarre compromises to emerge between public safety officials and open broadcasting advocates in some areas, is the idea of giving designated media houses access to encrypted police communications, but not to what they consider the general public.
While such a compromise somehow feels apt given the supposed professional foundation of the mainstream media and of the people who work within, the premise collapses instantly on the idea that the mainstream media can somehow be trusted more in principle to never sensationalize or to somehow commodify the police radio traffic they maintain privy access to.
Sensationalize and commodify are what they do.
All these types of agreements would likely wind up doing is creating an alignment between government officials and local brokers of the news, with access to the police radio traffic turning into the "currency of compliance" between them. If the local sheriff finds himself bothered by a probe into its practices by a pesky reporter for a newspaper, for example, that sheriff might find it all too easy to "de-classify" said newspaper as a legitimate media outlet, and pull the newspaper's plug. The newspaper would be at a significant disadvantage against its media processing competitors.
There's that, and then, there's the outdated presumption that anyone operating a media center is doing anything exceptional anyway. In 2022 everyone is a journalist, and those we would deem journalists it turns out, are just people. Vulnerable, greedy, and biased.
Giant media houses are just profit-suckers who happen to present a more polished and frequently agitating tweet than your crazy uncle might. Filled with cheap-to-produce superficial insight and biased interpretations and positions which are often designed to invoke ever-profitable conflict, it makes zero sense to make every city and jurisdiction dependent on them for information.
By Dave for for BuffScan.
Public safety radio moving to encrypted systems has left me trying to self-formulate and explain what a replacement for public monitoring looks like. I have yet to articulate an idea well, let alone document it. And, unfortunately, I have to assume that's because I haven't yet imagined or conceptualized a solution well first.
What I do have are a loose array of outlines going in one direction or another, with the idea that most excites me being that of a human-based reporting network. That is to say, I hope that as average people lose the ability to eavesdrop on police or fire radio signals, they will form human networks of radio teams that "patrol and report", spotting on and contributing to local newsfeeds in real-time of various sorts and platforms. Digital tools for that exist today in off-the-shelf social media tools like Twitter and other platforms, as do cheap analog radio backbones such as old-fashioned CB radio.
By Dave for for BuffScan.