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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

media woes « Previous | |Next »
November 16, 2006

I see from Crikey Daily that the circulation of the main newspapers are down, even with the giveaways. Crikey understands that of the 35 major newspapers surveyed, 26 have a lower circulation than a year ago. That means less revenue from advertising. So we have staff cuts and that a reduction in the quality of the material produced.

That surely means more Paris Hilton and Piers Ackerman.

The accelerating decline of newspapers increasingly means producing product for news "consumers" rather than citizens.That means the turn to entertainment and to fake news, rumor, speculation and gossip. That, in turn, signifies the decay of the implicit role of journalism as a "calling" rather than just a job; one that has been defined as being the "guardian or watchdog of democracy" and as an "intermediary and an interpreter between society and knowledge."

That means more Tim Blairs.

As Eric Alterman points out in The Nation in relation to a similar situation in the US:

What is staring everybody in the face is the evaporation of journalism's financial foundation into Internet air, where information is supposed to be "free" and ad rates are a fraction of those in print. Young people don't buy newspapers or watch the evening news--even, or perhaps especially, with cute Katie Couric reading it to them. Blogs are more fun to read and sometimes more reliable. Traditional revenue streams have been diverted by craigslist, eBay, Yahoo! and, of course, Google.

I would presume that there is panic over what the future holds in store, especially at Fairfax. Is this why we have the recent turn to news blogs on newspapers or at I presume they--talkback blogs--- generate readers through offering a space for consumers to express their opinions on a topical issue and so generate a bit of controversy.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:22 PM | | Comments (3)


The citizen function of newspapers has definitely been taken over be cadre of bloggers. The good thing is that the barrier to entry of internet publishing are so low that all sorts of experts and concerned citizens are joining in. The Au blogosphere is small enough that good voices can still be noticed. The downside is that Au sites cant generate the kind of traffic yet that is needed to remain fiscally viable or sustainable on advertising and click-throughs only. So it will probably remain a hobby/secondary function.

That's right, especially as the quality of the commentary part of the corporate media deteriorates.

However, I do not think that it is recognized in Australia that the political blogs perform the watchdog function that has been dumped by the corporate media.

A couple of weeks ago when I was in Canberra I tried to join the National Press Club as a blogger.They laughed at me. So I joined as a country member.Yet I am effectively writing commentary at public opinion.

The acceptance of bloggers is very low in Australia.Unlike CNN during the midterm elections there are no bloggers working in the election room during election night -----giving a running commentary as the results flow in.

I'm not sure how much the news blogs that have mushroomed on the corporate newspapers such as News and Fairfax (eg., the ones run by journalists as part of their new job descriptons) contribute to the watchdog function.

Most of the news blogs are just lazy journalism. Fly some kites and have the commentariat decide. I mean in the Australian giving Matt Price and the like free reign to write purile stuff about issues and consider that journalism. It is much more like Today Tonight.