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

ghost blogs+ dying newspapers « Previous | |Next »
March 26, 2007

There is an article from the Sunday Times downloaded into todays Australian that talks about the death of blogging. It is not attributed to any journalist. It's central argument is:

The extraordinary failure rate of online diaries and claims that interest in blogging will soon begin a precipitous slide are sparking an intriguing debate about the future of self-expression on the internet and whether blogs, once seen as revolutionary, are destined to become a footnote in the history of computing.To the embarrassment of millions of internet users ... the evidence of failed diary-keeping cannot be easily erased from search engines that continue to provide links to blogs that have lain dormant for years. Some internet analysts call them "ghost blogs", lingering reminders of a cultish enthusiasm for self-expression that is rapidly wearing off. Others liken the abandonment of blogs to "the suicide of your virtual self". At least one internet writer blames the blogging culture for helping to turn the internet into a "dictatorship of idiots".

it reads like professional disdain for the amateur. It makes no attempt to address the political blogs (which remain very lively in the face of newsroom budget cuts) or cultural blogs. Blogging is equated with personal diary writing--hence we have ghost blogs---not the rise of blogging as citizen journalism in response to the decline in the quality of the mainstream media.

Presumably political blogs would be dismissed as just chatter by freeloaders --- regurgitating someone else's reporting work. It would not be considered commentary upon the work of journalists.

The critical edge of blogging in relation to Canberra Press Gallery journalists on a drip feed is ignored in this turgid piece, as is the migration of audience to the Web. What is not explored is the significance of the changing nature of the audience as the Internet continues to transform the average person from a media user to a media creator producing online content. The shift in the online world is to more open conversations and open discussion is not mentioned, nor the view that the print business model cannot sustain journalism, nor the slow death of the local newspaper or the lack of great regional papers.

How can newspapers can survive in an age of free online content? The issues are explored here by David Lazarus at SFGate.com. Lazarus says the issue is one in which the Internet is a potentially fatal threat to newspapers.and that only an elite handful of newspapers can currently get away with directly charging customers for online access to their content. Consequently, newspapers will need to invest in creation of the sort of unique content that readers (and Internet users) simply can't find anywhere else. Then they can charge for their content.

So why is the Guardian so successful? Their newspaper content has value but they don't charge for it online.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:22 PM | | Comments (4)
Comments

Comments

Interesting stuff Gary. It takes a lot to maintain an interesting blog. There is only so much you can fit into an average day. Remember that almost nobody other than the professional journalists, who masquarade as bloggers. That said, I think that there are more than plenty of good blogs around. It is part of the process and we shouldn't worry too much about ghost blogs.

Turgid, alright!
Is not the Sunday Times one of Murdoch's?
By contrast, the Guardian has attempted to maintain its standards. If you are not moronic you are looking for an alternative to the nonsense of the tabloid press in order to help you make informed decisions about how to live and plan for the future.
Even if the mainstream media is not all claptrap as is vociferously claimed by indiciduals like Ackerman, Bolt and Milne you still gather different sources and check back to see who "got it right". Surely, only commonsense!

This is not what the tabloid media wants though, because its relationship with politics and other arms of big business are unseen drivers of their wealth. As Foxtel proved during the Iraq invasion, pushing a barrow rather than telling the truth can be lucrative, since politicians can subtly set the conditions later in return in which established media can operate against the chances of newcomers. This is in addition to the fact that advertisers like an environment where criticality is not encouraged.
But we now know through and by comparison that broadsheet media outlets like the Guardian are jealous of their reputations as sources of accurate information for survival.

Out of favour with the elite running exploitative globalisation, they rely on the alternative selling point of accuracy, as the Iraq war for example has proven.
Hence people tune in, including online. Advertising revenues hopefully thus prove that avoidance of lying can actually be lucrative, also.

In Australia, the Age and three or so other papers, as well as the also now-deteriorating ABC and SBS, secured their audiences or readership on this basis of accuracy. When Democracy was in balance, they were allowed to continue relatively unfettered because it was realised that only a society in touch with reality could avoid the mistakes of ideologicised denialist societies, like Stalin's Russia and Hitler's Germany.

Inevitably people like me have turned to the internet out of frustration with mainstream medias refusal to offer facts and evidence, because we know damned well that reading contemporary versions of "Volkischer Beobachter" is only going to see us dragged down along with the unthinking rest.

Colin,
what we don't seem to have much of in Australia is the conversation between the political bloggers and the journalists. I take it that each read the others others work, but there is no flow of conversation on specific issues.

On the other point, yes it takes a lot of work to keep public opinion going as a solo act. I can really understand why there has been the turn to group blogs ---it eases the workload as well as creating more diversity.

Paul,
yes the Sunday Times one of Murdoch's. I tried to find the article but with little luck. I do not find the commentary all that interesting ---I find it hard to understand the Times culture I guess. The cartoons by Peter Brooke are good though.

Journalism, as you point out, has changed under Murdoch --liberal objectivity has gone to be replaced by partisan and shrill commentary of the conservative noise machine engsaged in a political battle with the Left.