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

reinventing « Previous | |Next »
October 6, 2008

News and current affairs discussion continues to redistribute itself around the internet.

Crikey has been adding to what you could now reasonably call a stable of blogs and for the most part, previously un-Crikeyed blogs have taken commenters and their peculiar habits with them. Trevor Cook is about to take up a stall there and John Quiggin is weighing up the pros and cons. Whether you think that's a good or a bad thing seems to have more to do with independence, advertising and page layout than what you think the blogosphere is for, if comments at Quiggin's are any indication. That suggests to me that most commenters think of blogs in author/owner terms rather than seeing them as participatory space.

An interesting development happened when Tim Dunlop retired Blogocracy. Commenters described a real sense of loss, of Tim, Tim's pieces, and the sense of community they shared. There were a lot of "Where will we go now?" comments. What happened after that suggests that Blogocracy regulars had a different conceptualisation of what it's all about than Quiggin regulars.

Blogocracy regulars joni and stuntreb have set up their own blog, Blogocrats, which is how Blogocracy regulars described themselves. They chugged along quietly for a while until someone in comments at George Megalogenis' Meganomics gave them a plug, and now they're in the process of a happy reunion. How the News Ltd people feel about that is anyone's guess, but they've been trimming their own "blog" stable for a while, so it probably doesn't bother them all that much.

Ad astra from the old Possum Box has volunteered to become a contributing blogocrat as well as running his own blog The Political Sword, which is as new as Blogocrats and does some interesting things with the standard media coverage of politics.

But wait, there's more -

Terry Flew has uncovered some rather nasty, if not entirely unpredictable, news for citizen journalism enthusiasts. You can't knock $9 billion off Apple shares with a prank and expect to get away with it.

| Posted by Lyn at 3:05 PM | | Comments (5)


lots of changes afoot I see. Good to see. Crikey is becoming a cluster of blogs. That gives Crikey a solid internet presence.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age published some criticism of their own newspapers by Michael Gawenda one of their former editors. He says that the “slash and burn” approach to management won’t work in piloting a newspaper company through the internet. He adds:

The editors of The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald have no control over their papers' websites. All the talk of newsroom integration is rendered meaningless as a result. Already the online newspaper sites of the main Fairfax metropolitan mastheads are at odds with what those mastheads long stood for. They are much more popular, much more celebrity and entertainment focused. This is a recipe for disaster. The mastheads are being trashed.

That extract is from Gawenda's A.N. Smith Lecture in Journalism to be delivered tonight at Melbourne University and can only be found in The Australian.

His solution is one where:

Newspapers need to build on their strengths: Forget big headlines and huge and often meaningless graphics. Instead, arresting photography, great illustrations and wonderful editorial cartoons. And stories, well-written and compelling stories, well-edited and with smart and entertaining headlines, if possible, without lousy puns.

The failure has been to produce newspapers in the internet age that attract the sort of fierce and lifelong loyalty they once attracted.

Is this the future:

Crikey (the new) grows as an internet site whilst newspaper companies (the old) confront a historic decline in circulation and the unravelling of the traditional business model for journalism in the form of classified advertising going online. The slash and burn response by the old will hasten their end, looks to be what Michael Gawenda is saying.

Is there a diversity of media companies forming?

The internet is only one of the nails in the coffin of serious news and current affairs reporting.

The rise of infotainment started before the net. The rise of the commentariat and opinion as news. The complicity of journalists. The inclusion of critical literacy in education. Information overload for consumers. Various technologies which undermine the old fashioned news habit. FOI restrictions. Failure to protect whistle blowers. Failure to mentor new cadets properly.

Blaming the internet is like blaming home computer use for global warming.


Thanks for the kind words. And yeah, reb and I are trying to keep the blogocrats together. It is only when you run a blog like this that you realise how much effort goes into posting multiple posts every day.

We do hope that we can get more contributors over time, and that we can even have some opposing opinions.

Thanks again!