[[ skipped to: comments]]
=== ------- ===
I’m at a PBS panel at Reuters on news and the tabloid culture. It starts on a snotty note: a commercial for PBS from its head and sniffing about popular culture, which I find rather disingenuous from an institution that has to exploit Yanni to get money. When people look down on popular culture — aka tabloid culture — they are looking down on the public they supposedly want to serve.
Carl Bernstein argues that “journalism is part of popular culture and we cannot get away from that.” He goes on to say that “I don’t believe that the reporting on the war is as bad as some people, particularly people on the left, say. . . . During Watergate, it took a long time for people to believe in our stories.” The country is turning on the war because they do not believe it’s working and he says they come to that belief because journalists have been dogging coverage of the war.” Yet he turns around to argue that we operate with an “idiot culture” that was once a subculture “but now it is more menacing because it is starting to drown out the process by which people previously have been able to absorb serious information.”
Michael Wolff of Vanity Fair says the problem is that what we in media do is boring. “The form has died.” He also says the economic basis of news is falling apart and that one cannot name a news industry and organization that is not in turmoil.
Poor Janice Min, editor of US Weekly, is being held up as the devil: Ms. Tabloid. She, in turn, holds up TV news as the devil. “I would just rather go online and read the news.”
Todd Gitlin blamed everything on the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, until he was cut off.
Brooke Gladstone of On the Media tells a whining Bernstein that the relationship with media is fundamentally changing. “You can’t use media as a conduit anymore… you have to use it as a conversation.”
Wolff says to Bernstein and Gladstone that “this is all about condescension…. people are reading our news and saying it is full of sheet.”
Gitlin launches off on a lecture on Watergate. Wolff jokes that we should get off this Watergate thing. Gitlin explodes and tells Wolff he’s rude. “Gitlin part of the fucking problem with media” is shouting, he shouts. Wolff: “Part of the problem is is a lack of a sense of humor.” Gitlin, red-faced, proves the point, accusing Wolff of “a lack of grace.”
Bernstein asks the room who voted for Bush. Not a single person raises a hand. “This tells us something about we who are producing this,” he says.
A student from NYU says that between Frontline and US is Jon Stewart. I wish some journalism students — someone under 50 — were on this panel (and there are plenty here from NYU and CUNY). That’s the perspective we’re not hearing. Indeed, we heard some sniffing about having the follow the demographic advertisers want: namely, young people. After saying, with admiration, that Stewart should be nominated by his school for a “fake Pulitzer,” Gitlin — looking at media the old, mass way — says that Jon Stewart’s number[s] are “very low” and that “he is not the voice of a generation.”
I do my predictable rant arguing that this is about respect for the people and about listening. When we dismiss popular culture we dismiss the population. We do see Fanning of PBS and Gladstone of NPR making good use of new media to present news but I argue that is less than half the battle (and the head of PBS says that PBS — particularly Frontline — is looking to use new media to open up to new talent and new reporting): It’s about listening to the people.
| Ad, hyperlocal, newspapers |
The Journal writes a good primer on marketing online via blogs and search and such. Buried in there is a gem of an anecdote that shows why newspapers and yellow pages are in deep trouble with local advertising — unless they find new ways to serve them and compete with Google:
Peter Preston writes in the Observer:
Tunstall’s thesis is simple, but jolting. Of course America still floods the world with movies, music and TV shows. And, of course, their combined value climbs higher and higher. But if we’re talking something different - market share - then the US is in headlong decline, and has been for nearly 50 years. Discount around 100 annual hours of bigbudget movies and the residue is a pitiful, shrivelled thing. .../...
In light of the Knight Ridder and Tribune fiascos, I have to laugh at all the mewling about big, bad, media consolidation. The mewlers needn’t waste their breathy angst on media companies getting bigger. The big ones are toppling of their own weight, weighed down by their heritage, habits, and huge costs. Others are forced to open up — see the networks taking their shows to the internet. The irony of the parallel falls of the Tribune and Knight empires is that regulation against consolidation is what stopped Knight from diversifying, at least within media, and finding efficiencies with media cross-ownership within its markets. But the fact that Tribune was grandfathered in, owning one of every medium in Chicago, wasn’t enough to save it.
To those who celebrate that some newspapers will be freed from the yoke of remote corporate parents as they are bought up by local egotists, beware: New cash from would-be moguls and kingmakers in local markets will only stave off the inevitable. To those who want to regulate big media into extinction: Relax. They will die of their own weight.
: SEE ALSO: Jack Shafer, who says that trading the big, bad media conglomerate for the local mogul is not such an enticing prospect.
Everybody’s still avoiding the real necessity: restructing the news industry and its products and services. More later.
Get your Rapture hats ready, kiddies! The sky is falling, and our wise gift of nuclear winter will propel us all into the loving arms of the all-knowing and all-everywhere G-d.
- ► 2008 (18)
- ► 2007 (79)
09/24 - 10/01
- . STOP the HOAX;...
- Top CIA Expert Slams Bush Anti-Terror Actions Jim...
- oops [edit 2OCT2007] the Elmbrook documents about ...
- The future looks bright Language can help to shape...
- ▼ 09/24 - 10/01 (7)