Has Old Media Finally “Got” New Media?
Being a news junkie myself, I was very happy that Mr. Eaves put them in their place because, quite frankly, I am tired of Media conglomerates who have sucked the blood out of not just news, but all media. When called on it, the mainstream networks and publications react defensively.
I have pasted the entirety of Myth #3 below, because I feel it hits the nail on the head: by eliminating competition and generating content to suit advertisers, they have sold their soul and relinquished any right to be the standard bearers of journalistic integrity.
The same thing happened to network broadcasting. The networks programmed to the broadest demographic and in the process gave rise to cable networks who understood that beige is not a colour. If their current media is lacking “wow” factor, people will move onto other publications or broadcasts that offer a full palette of choices.
Traditional media has become so bland that the mere flashing of a nipple or Conservative lobbying scandal pollutes the airwaves and obscures the real issues that deserve illumination.
I have long counted on my Google reader and Twitter accounts to find the news and read the articles that interest me. What is so cool about this new “cool” media is that each person can be their own publisher, can edit their own news, entertainment or knitting magazine. And far from being “dumbed down” new media consumers, by pursuing and sharing their interests, are creating content that is current, insightful and stimulating.
I love the elitist contempt the media industry sometimes has towards its readers. But, okay, let’s say this is true. Then the newspapers and mainstream media have only themselves to blame. If people don’t know what good news is, it is because they’ve never seen it (and by and large, they haven’t).
The most devastating critique of this myth is actually delivered by one of my favourite newspaper men, Maclean’s editor in chief Kenneth Whyte, in his must-listen-to 2009 Dalton Camp Lecture in Journalism. In it, Whyte talks about how, in the late 19th and early 20th century, New York City had dozens of newspapers fighting for readership and people were media savvy, shifting from paper to paper depending on quality and perspective.
That all changed when newspapers started relying on advertising for the bulk of their revenue. Advertisers want staid, plain, boring newspapers with big audiences. This meant newspapers began playing to the lowest common denominator and became market-oriented to be boring. It also leaves them beholden to corporate interests (when was the last time the Vancouver Sun really did a critical analysis of the housing industry – its biggest advertisement source?).
If people are not media savvy it is, in part, because the media ecosystem demands so little of them.
What do you think?
About Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz is a Social Media Strategist with management roots in restaurant, hotel and performing arts. A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus. His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social". Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.