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The media landscape when the sheep begin to meow

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.

  Cheers Comrades

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Jo Chandler’s prospects after the axefest at Fairfax

So the axe is going to fall on Fairfax, and form the look of things its going to fall hard, I can’t say that I’m that surprised that they are going to take to their expensive infrastructure and substantially reduce their overheads by reducing their staff by 1900.

Click for source

Of course the influence of Gina Reinhardt may even bring Fairfax a bit closer to the centre politically and won’t that set up a wailing and moaning in the latte belts of both Sydney and Melbourne ? One would hope that they hold onto their best journalists but maybe they can take this as an opportunity to shed some under-performing ‘senior writers” Like Jo Chandler. Its very clear   though that there are  writers at Fairfax who are worth reading and its inevitable that Fairfax will consolidate their titles published in different cities into a single entity eventually, after all so much of the content is shared across the empire anyway.

I can’t help wondering just what  Ex Fairfax staff will do with themselves  once they have collected that final pay cheque, after-all in a  shrinking sector they can’t all expect to find new gigs as journalists, some may try the old standby of writing books (that however may result only in failure) others may try to turn their dalliances with the internet into a money spinner but its hard to see how they can make a quid out of that especially if their previous experience on the net was to harass and stalk humble bloggers who happened to disagree with them about politics and anonymity on the net.

Oh well perhaps they need to get some ruby slippers and hope that when the click them together and say “there is no place like home”  and be thankful that they can draw upon their potential inheritance while they dream their Marxist dreams and sip  a Chai latte while avoiding being caught in the rain (because it plays havoc with their hair)

Cheers Comrades

Being able to read what is written and the changing nature of the published word.

Less is more especially when the frames weigh just 17 grams

Yesterday I just could not get my head around any topic with enough dedication to tap out some words of wisdom for the sandpit’s readers, I had the shopping to do and some necessary errands like a organising some new spectacles, actaully new lenses for the frames that I bought online from the USA, having failed miserably to find any that I liked in the various stores that I have been visiting for months in a futile search for a style that I could live with. Its the blessing of getting older that finds me needing glasses all of the time these days and finding the perfect frames is really vexing when all of the chains have nothing but those vile letterbox rectangular abominations that are oh so fashionable at present. I was delighted to find that my frames met with such approval from the OPTICIAN who loved them enough to want to take a picture of himself wearing them!

Anyway enough of my excuses for not posting yesterday and onto the Fairfax saga one thing that you can’t say about Gina Reinhardt is that she fails to put the cat among the pigeons. The latte sippers must be choking on the froth this morning as the Age reports that her holding in the company is now more than 18% Talk about going into the belly of the beast !  as a disinterested observer I am just loving the soap opera quality of this little bit of game playing form Gina  and frankly I can see a future where there are no print versions of any paper in this country the future is surely online when it comes to news and information and I predict that there will come a time when the Age, the SMH and all other Fairfax titles will be like their Brisbane times entirely an  online creature, further I expect that when that happens the next step will be to consolidate all of those individual titles into one national masthead.

  I came to this conclusion when I saw that at Westfield’s Strathpine centre the newsagent was closed and signs telling us that it is “temporary” and it would reopen soon were posted on its closed doors. Now besides the fact that shopping malls charge almost extortionate rents for any store front  its clear that the business of selling papers, magazines and stationary is not what it used to be, with supermarkets selling those same products and much of the reading public getting their fix online  I think that sadly  we are going to see more newsagents closing in the future.

Of course from an environmental point of view the decline in the printed newspaper might not be such a bad thing if we value the trees  that are cut down to make paper a decline in the demand has to be a good thing right? Of course it is. I don’t think this means an end of the book though because a book is seldom the single use item that newspapers tend to be and there is still a quality of the printed book that E readers seem to lack …

Cheers Comrades

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