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

distractions « Previous | |Next »
May 30, 2009

If newspapers do end up charging for access to online content they'll have a hard time coming up with stuff people would be prepared to pay for that isn't freely available. Mark Day says

"If the Government makes a press statement, that's going to be free. If a corporation gives its annual report, that's going to be free. If there is a debate in Parliament, that's going to be free.

"But investigative journalism, the kind of information that does have value, can be charged for."

No mention of commentary and 'analysis'. How much of that sort of content would people pay to access? I'd probably pay for George Megalogenis, but not if it meant a subscription would also support Christopher Pearson.

Pearson regurgitates Gerard Henderson, Andrew Bolt and American pro-life releases. No great challenge in that.

Megalogenis makes original and worthwhile contributions.

Why are we being bombarded with brawls over laminated A3 images of nation building and debt graphs out to 2022? Why can't anybody just calmly explain what's going on? Why, if we're in such deep economic trouble, is the prime minister gadding about in hard hats and devoting all his attention to Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey?

George says,

Pity the voter who is seeking a simple assurance that the Government knows what it is doing and the Opposition has an alternative policy worth considering.

To listen to Rudd now is to hear an advertising guru brainstorming campaign themes.

Rudd should be concentrating on explaining the medium and longer term logic of his plan, the way Keating used to when he was treasurer. There should be more of the kind of explanation we saw earlier that produced the 'shitstorm' episode. He took the time to explain the global nature of the mess and forestalled attempts to make it a local issue. Rudd may be a dull, clever pants wonk, but he's also shown he's good at the direct pitch, eliminating media noise and other distractions.

Megalogenis says "Rudd spins because he hasn’t figured out how to translate", but the shitstorm program suggests otherwise. That the media went into nutsville mode over whether he used the term deliberately or not probably worked in his favour, as did the Scores thing.

You could also argue that while running about the country in a hard hat and fluoro safety vest makes for dull media, it's also local campaigning. We see Rudd standing around in front of the cameras, but he's also meeting the locals in the process.

George is right to say that the current messages are garbled, confusing and lack any kind of internal consistency or vision, but he's wrong in thinking Rudd is incapable of doing anything else. He's just not doing it right now.

| Posted by Lyn at 10:33 AM | | Comments (12)
Comments

Comments

I read somewhere that the news and reportage will happen on the internet as it happens and that newspapers will be more commentary and anlysis of the news. Was that Mark Day?

If so newspapers will have lift to their game as there is better informed commentary on the blogs.

There is not much investigative journalism being done these days by the mainstream newspapers. They have to circumvent diversionary press-secretary spin, dig up documents and ferret out leaks -- and all of that takes money they increasingly do not have.

Gary,
I'd be surprised if it was Mark Day. You could be right, but I was under the impression he was smarter than that.

Nan,
They also have to work at local, state, federal and global levels. How could that be achieved without the centralised model of newspapers?

It might be more affordable if they weren't also bearing the cost of supporting so many columnists.

So the answer to the question, 'who is going to pay for serious reporting'?, is that it can be charged for?That doesn't deal with the the erosion of trust in journalism--their authority and credibility has been shot to pieces. Most of the political press are on a drip feed and know next to nothing about policy on various issues. They just do politics."

Secondly, the press, and the critical financial press, failed badly in acknowledging the global financial crisis.They just repeated the up-beat spin from bankers, central banks and financial analysts who dismissed the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US as not being very significant with respect to the bubble economy.

So the repute of journalism as a force for Enlightenment has been more or less corrupted. Journalism is now a rotten pillar of democratic society.

Lyn,
I don't think that it was Mark Day--his recent column in The Australian was about Digital TV and lack of reception in Yankalla, near Victor Harbor, where he has a cottage in the hills.

I thought that maybe it was something in Salon.com---but I couldn't find it.

On principle I won't be paying for access to any online news media.
I looked at where I get most of my primary information right now and realised that public broadcasting, government, business, education websites and the blogosphere are where I go to first as it is.
Rupert & Co are dreaming if they think that I would pay a cent for the cut and paste nonsense often published as 'news'.

clarencegirl,
What News Ltd opposes is the attempts to create an atmosphere in which the sympathetic understanding of difference could become mutually enriching to divergent views.

Gary,
I recall seeing it suggested somewhere, probably by a media person. Who else would think their opinions are worth paying for?

Clarencegirl,
Changing our news habits seems to be something we do accidentally. You only realise when you stop and think about it.

That's another negative for paid access - it relies on people making conscious decisions about what they really want, as opposed to what they do out of habit.

Nope, I don't think they are advocating payment for their opinions per se. Commentary is what the mainstream media can do, since the news is broken, and updated on, the internet and then into mobile phones. Newspapers cannot compete hence the commentary on the news. However, online advertising cannot pay for the services.

The subscription or online charges is for some specialist content---eg., along the lines of the premium content on the Financial Times. And so we would have a premium model for music video---micro-payments or a subscription for a professional music content site---on YouTube. FT.com’s hybrid model also allows a certain number of free visits to the site before requiring registration and then a subscription if you want to access the commentary.

A migration from free to fee has worked before, when cable operators introduced a subscription model to television. Pay-television took off because it offered a dramatic expansion of the content on offer, from Hollywood films to live sports. Consumers are now overwhelmed by choice on multiple media.

clarencegirl,
people are not prepared to pay for general news sites but they will be prepared to pay for sports and financial journalism,if it is professionally produced, distinctive and new. Yet making more distinctive content will be hard for companies simultaneously cutting costs in reaction to plunging revenues.

Punch --a new model of free content from News Corp, who have been saying that the end of free content on the internet is just around the corner. What's up? Who is going to pay to read Mike Rann on bikies?

People are not prepared to pay for news when it is created by what politicians said in the form of reporting speeches, media conferences, door stops.These are the day to day realities of modern political journalism. Why would we pay for that, since it is mostly publicity management?

The newspapers are pointing at Google for the aggregation of their news headlines without paying for it. Yet Google sells adverts on its aggregation.o Google is 'stealing' content.