Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Media We Deserve (Follow Up)

Well I'd never have thought it. Actually that's bad of me, I have simply not credited Rupert Murdoch with the intelligence he clearly has. In this article from The Guardian, Murdoch discusses the move from spoon-fed media to us leaving the nest and flying out into a world of hunter-gatherer media consumption. I don't agree with his interpretation of how we relate to the media but I do agree with his view of what will happen in the future to any media empire that doesn't move with the times.

The owner of Fox News added: "Never has the flow of information and ideas, of hard news and reasoned comment, been more important. The force of our democratic beliefs is a key weapon in the war against religious fanaticism and the terrorism it breeds."

"Societies or companies that expect a glorious past to shield them from the forces of change driven by advancing technology will fail and fall," he warned. "That applies as much to my own, the media industry, as to every other business on the planet."

I'd agree with that other than to point out that the same information and ideas can and will also be used to spread ideas of fanaticism and in a nominally free society that is right and just. To attempt to control what is "reasoned comment" is to deny what makes the net powerful and different. It is of course also impossible to censor the internet as the network is engineered to route around any obstacle put in its way; that's how it works.

He had some words of hope for his industry peers buffeted by declining circulations, free titles and the internet. "I believe traditional newspapers have many years of life but, equally, I think in the future that newsprint and ink will be just one of many channels to our readers," he said, predicting a future in which "media becomes like fast food" with consumers watching news, sport and film clips as they travel, on mobile phones or handheld wireless devices.

Yes, but all those people can, if they wish, make media as well as consume it. It's not just one-way traffic anymore, that I think is where the real excitement lies. As discussed before it's the concept of massive peer-review that destroys the notion that establishment journalists have a truer or more valid take on events than potentially anyone else and if they don't work harder to produce interesting content, they're dead in the water. Still it's interesting that the last of the Hearstian media moguls seems to be aware of the new era that is upon us. I wonder if the rest of his ilk are?

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