As someone who has taken a stick to the minions of Fairfax journalism on a regular basis I find the panic among the Latte sippers rather amusing. Watching Dave and Jezza’s sycophants having conniptions in the soon to be closed Pure Poison comment threads just makes me roll with laughter. The biggest joke of all is this notion of “editorial independence” that is thrown around by the fans of Fairfax with gay abandon as if it means anything worthwhile. In the age of the internet if you want “independent” journalism then you have only one option and that is to turn to bloggers who do it for love rather than “journalists” who write for a pay cheque. I think that the age of professional interlocutors between the political action and the public is in serious decline, especially when just about very person with a fancy phone and an internet connection can upload footage of events in real time well ahead of the professionals who massage the story to suit their own agenda.
Of course I may well be a bit ahead of the wave here and it may be a while before the old media has its machine that goes ping turned off and it ceases to make any money at all for its proprietors so in that indefinite interim we will see some big changes like the takeover of Fairfax by Gina Reinhardt who I suspect sees the possibility of making a quid out of its digital service rather than its big city mast heads in Sydney and Melbourne. With the move to a more digitally focused service does anyone want to bet that we won’t see more of its journalism being casualised or that they will be paid on piece work basis rather than them being on an expensive salary? Remember though that a casual worker who wants to earn has to try harder to please their boss…
If my scenario is correct, and it could be, what does it mean for the people in terms of them getting clear and factual information? I certainly don’t think it means that we will be totally at the mercy of Gina’s personal agenda quite simply because the voices that she sponsors through her media interests will certainly be a long way short of any kind of a monopoly on the eyes and ears of the people. I am sure that for most of us who are interested in politics these days no longer rely entirely on any one source as it was in the golden age of the newspaper. Therein lies the problem for anyone who wants to make a quid from news and reporting it in world with every person can be the eyes and ears of the world even if its just once in their life time what value is there in paying large amounts of cash for someone to, for example, watch fuzzy wuzzy twitter and write silly articles that no one wants to read?
I think that the angst felt by many of my friends form the left at the decline of newspapers boils down to a very simple idea from totalitarians of the past, namely if you control the information that gets to the people then you can herd them towards your desired ideological standpoint. However if you can’t have a monopoly on their attention because there are so many voices vying for it in the internet age, then it becomes less like herding sheep and more like herding cats and anyone who has tried to corral them knows that it is another thing altogether.
- Jo Chandler’s prospects after the axefest at Fairfax (iainhall.wordpress.com)
- SMH economics editor warns he will consider his position if Rinehart refuses independence guarantee (mumbrella.com.au)
- Fairfax journos make appeal to Rinehart (bigpondnews.com)
- Fairfax Avoids Being ‘Cannibalised’ But At a Price (theepochtimes.com)
- Rinehart won’t bully us, Fairfax says (abc.net.au)
- Conroy warns Rinehart not to trash Fairfax brand (abc.net.au)
- Dear Gina, please uphold our values (theage.com.au)
- Conroy warns Rinehart over Fairfax bid (news.smh.com.au)
- Fairfax is broke and dying before our eyes – it needs Gina (mumbrella.com.au)