Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Are the media revolting?

Joshua Greenbaum writes a thoughtful piece on the clash of the "new media" (blogs, wikis etc) with the mainstream media. He correctly concludes that revolutions rarely go in the directions that are originally intended, and he comes down on the side of the mainstream media camp, who he predicts will subsume the newer media. I agree with his analysis. It is exciting to see new content appearing in blogs on many subjects, but if you actually want to know whether something is true you'd be advised to look at the BBC or CNN. It is positive that the barriers to entry to creating content have dropped away, but media brands will be critical in ensuring reliable, truthful content, as distinct from individuals just spouting off on their latest hobbyhorses.

In fact very few industries have been really demolished by the internet. I heard that there are 10% less people working as travel agents than a few years ago, but there aren't too many others that spring to mind. Even that despised breed, realtors (estate agents in the UK) who essentially just control privileged information, are still very much in business. If the internet couldn't displace them, what chance does it have with journalists?

3 Comments:

Anonymous Chris R said...

Not sure I fully agree with your point. Much of the mainstream media, including the BBC, is taken up with material copied from press releases that announce new surveys, reports or "research" (which may be more or less scientific). Most of this stuff lack any kind of objective “truth” - rather each item reflects the prejudices of whatever organisation is behind it, packaged up by PRs in a way that will get media attention. Blogs can be very helpful in cutting through all of this, e.g. Ben Goldacre’s excellent badscience.net, which regularly exposes the complete absence of truth in most mainstream reporting of any topic involving science, maths or statistics.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Andy Hayler said...

You make a good point Chris - certainly there is lazy journalism amongst mainstream media, and high quality blogs are a valuable supplement/alternative. However excellent examples like badscience.net seem to me depressingly few and far between. Just as you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your hamdsome prince, you have to trawl a lot of unappealing blogs to find a rare gem like badscience. I feel that the difficulty of wading through all the dross will, after the novelty has worn off, tend to bring people back to sources that they trust. What is undeniable is that this is a most exciting period in media; it will be intriguing to see what develops.

2:08 AM  
Blogger Vinnie Mirchandani said...

Bloggers are not journalists. They are not industry analysts. They are not sell side analysts. Most bloggers I know and read are very smart practitioners (investors, consultants) who are delighted to have a publishing platform so they can exchange views with each other and not have to always depend on press, industry analysts or financial analysts. We do not consider them competition, not do we consider them that improtant. They can snipe at bloggers all they want. We care more about what other bloggers we respect have to say -)

5:59 PM  

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