Sep 24, 2012

Brave News World: media is dead — long live media

Once-great institutions are under threat; what might supplant them is unclear; reputations afford no protection. So what will media look like in 20 years? Gideon Haigh presents the first in a multi-part Crikey investigation.

Gideon Haigh

Freelance journalist and author

Wendy Harmer recently had an encounter in a cocktail bar with a big swinging dick executive in Sydney mainstream media that to her summed up the times. Since July 2011, Harmer has been stewarding a website, The Hoopla, targeted at mature women. Wry and warm, it has won a loyal following; run mainly on zeal, it has made little money.

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10 thoughts on “Brave News World: media is dead — long live media

  1. izatso?

    No. 1 ….. change your homepage ….. for beginners, definitely scrub ninemsm as your homepage, get rid of their rubbish right now. google is fairly benign, if you keep away from ‘chrome’,etc ….. any suggestions people ? you must dump nine but.

  2. Matt Hardin

    [the downside is that you will never again have that accretion of economic power which allows journalists to take on a government.]

    Isn’t this a good thing that media moguls can’t own the government?

  3. izatso?

    that is au dont get the us job crissays …. what’s the best search engine people ? as in the least invasive, der…

  4. klewso

    Matt, have you spoken about this with Rupert?
    If they can’t own governments, who can?

  5. Edward James

    So if ABC Radio is running something about a guy who got bitten in half by a shark in Perth, you’d better have it on your site. Doesn’t matter how small it is; it has to be there somewhere.” while that bit identifies the fight to remain relevant. Trying to cover all the bases reminds me of the often one and half kilos of Sunday papers. Most of it goes in the bin outside my paper shop! If they did not include tv guides I would not buy them! For the record I subscribe to because it provides me with an electronic soap box. which unlike The Punch has never taken fright at my efforts at public trust journalism and taken my work product down weeks later! I am pleased to see the demise in main stream media! The days of offering them photos of smoke detectors covered with rubber gloves during public meetings in a multi story council building. And being told we do not care what you bring us we won’t run it are hopefully over !. Edward James

  6. neil busacca

    Gideon, i would take that 65,000 digital subscribers figure with a grain of salt if i were you! (here’s an exclusive for you that will pop Murdoch’s bubble).

    You will find that many thousands of those yearly ‘subscribers’ actually didn’t pay for it and are students but had it bundled with their $30 (or was it $40?)annual fee for a card that lets them pick up the printed version at university every weekday and free home delivery on Saturday. I’m not sure the exact figures but accross Australia covering all university students and staff that got the deal i would estimate at least 5000 subscribers( call them to check) that didn’t actually pay for the digital edition but had in thrown in with their student copies.

    The Age was charging at least $60 a year just for the online access and no doubt got very few subscribers.

    You will recall over the previous 5 years that both Newscorp and Fairfax had very cheap university pickup deals that artificially booseted their circulation numbers. They even counted all the copies delivered despite the fact less than half were even collected. Eventually advertisers caught onto this practice. A lot fewer papers are now delivered to universities and I no longer see the pallet of yesterdays uncollected papers sitting in the union house basement.

  7. Michael Hughes

    Wow what an intense article. Though as I read it I couldn’t but help notice the absence of ad graphics being present either side of the text as I read.

    Mind you of course Crikey is behind a paywall anyway and evidence of the fact that people like me are willing to spend the dosh on quality news and opinion. Indeed Time magazine and Crikey are the only subscriptions I now have. Apart from the occasional copy of The Monthly the rest of my media poison is sourced online for free. Apart that is for the occasional whimsical purchase such as a Nexus when down at the coast on a half-hol.

  8. Hamis Hill

    Perhaps, in view of all those difficulties, journalists will, (if they are going to be relevant to their audiences), have to be like Philosopher-Kings with that range of knowledge and experience.
    Otherwise something like the ancient bards capable of presenting a coherent story for the audience.
    Bottom line is how to deliver the message if you cannot identify the audience?
    The best target is the common pool of knowledge provided by the public education system.
    The future of journalism may be as an adjunct service to education; providing a sort of continuing adult education which is built upon the standards expected of all adult citizens.
    Most of what has gone before in the MSM seems to be aimed, like commercial advertising, at the knowledge and understanding level of primary school children.
    And most of that is an insult to the intelligence and understanding of primary school children.

  9. klewso

    Judging the worth of everything through the prism of profit motive does have it’s drawbacks – making journalism (with the way it should serve the greater public by way of informing them) answerable to such criteria can only impact badly on society in general, in that it will render them ignorant when revenue cuts lead to cutting resources to fund investigation.
    Look what Murdoch can do through his domination of our viewsmedia per his Murdochracy – thank God we have alternate sources for our electoral elucidation and greater general knowledge.

  10. Oscar Jones

    Gideon’s article is spot on but the future is not that hard to see. If Fairfax and News Ltd want to retain their customers they are going to have to work a lot harder for them.
    Particularly News which seems to be living in a fantasy world that it’s prejudicial political reporting will be rewarded when it is fully behind a paywall. The net is full of Pickerings who will satisfy the cravings of the ‘lower orders’.

    Both have to up their game and should be taking note of sites like crikey, Independent Australia and Politically Homeless which are producing expert analysis on shoestring budgets. And there are heaps more. Of course revenues will be smaller but that’s ‘progress’. Mumbrella and Freedman’s sites are successful but it doesn’t take a genius to see why : they provide a product that is trustworthy, newsworthy and basically devoid of prejudice. The British Journal of Photography now reports it has as many Ipad subscribers as print subscribers. Why?- because they offer non prejudical information. One lesson to be learned from the internet is that humbug in newspapers can be exposed when once print had the game to themselves.

    And Rupert Murdoch is correct : at some stage the content thieves who set up blogs and rip-off large producers of intellectual content must be challenged and brought to heel. That will mean taking on net Gods like Google which has so many enthralled in their hokey claims to ‘free speech’ despite their recent fining of $500M for illegally advertising foreign drugs companies. My advice : drag the tech heads who seem to form policy from their desks and put them where they belong-doing tech work.

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