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

the return of the newspaper? « Previous | |Next »
June 7, 2007

Tom Plate in The Age argues that important and complex matters cannot be seriously addressed in soundbite sentences on television. These can only be addressed by newspapers. Plate says:

My emphasis on newspapers is rooted in the core belief that political civilisation may depend in some circumstances on their flowering. Whether arrayed clinically on a digital computer screen, or splashed across newsprint that inevitably leaves ink on your hands as you pore over it, the newspaper at its best is a carrier of complexity. Any idiot news medium can handle the Paris Hilton story, but only a truly good newspaper can hope to offer you any wisdom at all on the daunting complexities of international currency imbalances, the Russian resurgence and China's weird stock market — not to mention the entire sprawling complexity of the Muslim world.

Even with the astonishing rise of the internet, the dominant media of mass communication probably remains television. However, it is newspapers that offer educated story selection, sophisticated analysis and more than the three-second soundbite, and with the internet this become more available to a greater number of people.

This is true. I can now read the Washington Post, New York Times, The Guardian, The Times online whilst in Adelaide or Canberra, as well as the Australian or the Sydney Morning Herald. Yet some of the analysis in these analyses can hardly be called sophisticated. Many are partisan and party political with the media companies seeing their core business of the company is the soliciting and publishing of advertising with journalists becoming content providers. So there is a need for quality content online both text-based and video.

Plate says that an example of quality online newspapers is The Times of India, and he acknowledges that the Wall Street Journal will probably be owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch, and that in 10 years it would probably not be the Wall Street Journal that more or less as we know it today under the Bancroft family. Murdoch will use his control of the Journal's parent company ravage it for profits or save it for posterity. No matter we still have the Times of India.

As the editorial in the Wall Street Journal says capitalism is dynamic, and as the Journal extols the virtues of Joseph Schumpeter's "creative destruction" for others, it can't complain when it sweeps through our own industry in the form of the Internet breaking up long-time media business models. Not when its classical liberal ethos is one of "free people and free markets." In doing so capitalism changes the nature of journalism to being content providers. That means a shift away from the Packer style media baron to private equity capital that works by increasing debt levels and improving margins of profitability by stripping costs and maximising returns; then reselling in 5-7 years.

A financially stringent new media model , that undergoes a technological overhaul to go digital, also means turning away from the big national debates , a dumbing down of content and embracing infotainment. So who generates the content that Sky News takes from the free-to-air networks, puts in some of its own content and plays it out. Someone has to, as Sky News has cameras without operators.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:04 AM | | Comments (3)


It is becoming an effort to find the content on the online newspaper sites as they increasing adopt infotainment format. The LA Times has always been a leader in this trend, but is now followed by The Guardian.

I struggle to "find the content on the online newspaper sites as they increasing adopt infotainment format" as well.
I'm finding I have to increasingly write my own stuff as opposed to bouncing off, or commenting upon, quality op-eds ojn the issues of the day.

I find that blogging takes more time and effort these days.

I am absolutely astounded that two draft bills that have been released today for public comment have not been aired on prime TV. The bills affect every citizen of Australia - I'm referring to the Health and Social Services (HSS)Access Card - the 'Human Services (Enhanced Service Delivery) Bill 2007' and the Human Services (Enhanced Service Delivery)(Consequential Provisions) Bill 2007. See for explanatory details. The Bills are to establish a a register to capture biomeric identification of anyone who wants to access public health or welfare. The consequential provisons of the Bill set out that unless citizens of Australia comply and agree to having their signature digitised and having a digitised photograph of themselves that 'no compliance' means no access to services. It is outrageous - Australia is supposed to be a democratic country - is it? I disagree, a democratic nation allows its citizens to have a choice if they want to have their personal information stored on a computer chip. A public zone for allied health and clerks to look at and a private zone for particular agencies to look at citizens details. However, there are exemptions or exclusions in the Privacy Act 1988 under Information Privacy Principles and National Privacy Principles that allow government and non government institutions to access, share and store citizens data. The Privacy Act is a nonsense as their is no privacy of information for any citizen who is in receipt of a government welfare payment. The combination of the Health Insurance Commission, renamed to Medicare Australia has broad powers to investigate for fraud. The HSS Access Card is part of the governments national security framework aimed at protecting Australian's from terrorist. ASIO, Federal Police have access to these details. The government is not calling the HSS Access Card not a national identity - I fail to see how it is not. People need to be aware of what the government is doing. I'm not interested in my message being posted, I hope that may be an editor or reporter may glance at this comment, check out the website and write about the Card.