Oct 15, 2009

Your ABC and their News Limited: the media’s empire games

A speech last night by ABC chief Mark Scott was a pre-emptive strike in what will be the main media battle of the first quarter of this century -- between paid content and public broadcasting.

Margaret Simons

Journalist, author and director of the Centre for Advanced Journalism

“We will rule the Digital Age” is how The Australian blurbs ABC Managing Director Mark Scott’s landmark speech on its print edition front page this morning. Well, er no. That is decidedly not what he said.


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3 thoughts on “Your ABC and their News Limited: the media’s empire games

  1. Tom McLoughlin

    Yep, fragmentation is a big issue. The mogul with the inner fascist will always say – just cede your own participation and share of power and we will provide you with order peace and defacto good government. My year 11 student of Italian extraction thus was quite anamoured of the authoritarian rather than democratic approach to government – because in his adolescent mind it was simpler and more efficient. One only has to consider the virtually infinite permutations and combinations of the double helix to know humans are not made for a single template. We crave variety all the way to the downright eccentric. The Empire is dead, long live the empire. If it wasn’t the Iraq war and non existent WMD, then it was the GFC, reality of climate science, and 2.0, all thrusting daggers into Caesar.

  2. westral

    To my mind Rupert Murdoch has always been about profit rather than content and removal of a competitor (ABC) would be in his interest as it would tend to move customers towards his media providers. If he had his way we would all be paying customers of either Foxtel News or News Limited newspapers or Pay per View Websites. As a businessman that is what he should do for his shareholders but having News Limited as the sole or major provider of news would not be good for the community.

  3. Andrew Elder

    The mainstream media aren’t content providers, they’re broadcasters. To see them as content providers is to misunderstand the extent to which they are being bypassed.

    When the Prime Minister makes a speech, the Prime Minister is the content provider, the speech is the content. When a media organisation reports on that speech, it is not creating that content but passing it on to the viewer/reader/listener/consumer/citizen.

    Most of the stories in a newspaper are pretty much reworkings of press releases – not a lot of value add there. Political journalists try to add to the reworked press release with a quote from an anonymous source, or corridor tittle-tattle that has a much smaller audience than they might imagine – again, not a lot of value add there. This is why Murdoch is kidding himself about his self-image as a content provider, and about the value proposition of Limited News.

    If you want to get your information directly and comment on it, you can – on issues like climate change or sports, blogs link directly to sources of raw data and comment directly on that. Traditional media is so unreliable as a source of information that it just gets bypassed. Why waste your time waiting for the journosphere to make a hash of the data and then comment on that? These blogs often operate in a more nuanced way than the journosphere is capable; that nuance is what readers are after, and marketing people at traditional media can’t/won’t structure their questions to find the answers that will lead them to better-informed and more subtle content.

    The fact that the journosphere is paralysed when a government stops issuing press releases (and simply accepts that the government has “gone to ground”, even applauding their strategic brilliance in doing so) is pathetic. The fact that they can issue a press release at 4pm and no journalist can be bothered reading it is laughable – particularly as they then complain about “the 24 hour news cycle”, whatever that might be. Like the little birds with their eggs in Auden’s poem, bloggers give the fatally infected mainstream media all the respect it deserves: none.

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