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Author Topic: The Demise of Traditional Media  (Read 11039 times)

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Mongrel

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #60 on: May 08, 2009, 09:23:40 PM »

The Internet means that nobody can charge for context any more, which means that context providers can't make a business out of buying facts. Which means that fact providers are in big trouble. How to ensure that people still get facts? I don't know.

Uh, did you mean content?
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Bongo Bill

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #61 on: May 08, 2009, 10:10:55 PM »

No, I meant context. Perspective. Analysis. Commentary. Editorializing. Opinions. What it means.
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Royal☭

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #62 on: May 09, 2009, 05:20:54 AM »

Nobody ever charged for context.  You always had to supply that yourself.

Bongo Bill

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #63 on: May 09, 2009, 06:48:33 AM »

Nonsense. People charge for context all the time. If you buy a newspaper, you are being charged for context - all but the driest of articles has somebody's opinion in it. An interviewee talking about more than what they saw, relating an event to previous similar events or a popular subject of discussion, speculation about the future of the stock market, input from an expert, a letter to the editor that makes reference to an event - all of that is a particular interpretation of the significance of a fact. That is context. And unless you were the only person involved in the making of that newspaper, it came from somebody else.

Most people are more interested in what it means when something happens than what actually did happen. It is true that most people are capable of figuring this out for themselves, but that doesn't mean that they are only rarely interested in hearing what somebody else has to say about it.

I will give an example from one of the top articles in Google News right at the moment: Obama keeps Bush polar bear rules. The facts being reported are what Ken Salazar decided, what he said about his decision, and what a representative of Greenpeace said about it. The context is provided in the form of some of the probable environmental and political implications of his choice, the implications of an alternative, a brief history of the policy's establishment, and the reaction of an interested party.

The other facts surrounding the one that the article is about make it easier for the reader to understand the significance of the decision and the circumstances in which it was made, as well as the vague outline of some of the controversy that may result. These are all useful and interesting and valuable things to report - but, given the three basic facts of the story (what he decided, what he said about it, and what someone else said about it), you can probably find several bloggers who just can't wait to tell you what they think about them. You can form your own context, and so can everyone else.

The only parts of that article that can't be done basically for free are finding out that the decision was made and getting comments from the two people quoted there. It's the most important part, too. However, a superior product - that is, the facts plus some thoughtful commentary - can be obtained for free. So where does the money come from that funds the original research?

It's the triviality of reproduction that causes the big problem.
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Mongrel

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #64 on: May 09, 2009, 06:58:52 AM »

This thread was bad enough when I was posting in it, but the last two pages are just...



You guys are depressing the hell outta me.

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Cthulhu-chan

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #65 on: May 09, 2009, 07:30:17 AM »

 :fukit: BLOW IT ALL UP :fukit:
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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #66 on: May 09, 2009, 08:50:42 AM »

:madstan:
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Zaratustra

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #67 on: May 09, 2009, 08:13:16 PM »

tv newspaper books radio videogames and computers will all break down when the apocalypse comes

we'll all go back to telling stories by the fire

and all the stories will be boring

Brentai

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #68 on: May 09, 2009, 08:17:14 PM »

:goodnews: Gather round children, as I tell you of the time President Obama went to get a hamburger.
:;_;: But I wanna play Team Fortress!  They just released rocks and Timmy's been kind of a little bitch lately!
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Mongrel

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #69 on: May 09, 2009, 09:20:44 PM »

Rock on.
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Thad

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #70 on: May 09, 2009, 10:48:38 PM »

All right, playing two-month-old catchup here; this thread started three days before Dad had his dog put down, so uh yeah I was a little preoccupied.

Newspapers cost a quarter unless you buy a subscription and then they cost like a cent, and make their money mostly off ads and personals.  Online newspapers cost nothing unless you have to buy a subscription and then they cost like a cent, and make their money mostly off ads and personals.  The difference is you can't pick one up to read if you're stuck at a gas station or something, unless of course you've got a notebook or something.

The problem hasn't a god damned thing to do with technology, that's just a convenient thing to blame (see also: music.)  The problem is that the mainstream is succumbing to entropy while remaining so consolidated that it's rare for anything to be able to replace its falling-off pieces.

True for the most part, but Craigslist has pretty much killed the classified section.  That's hurting mainstream papers, and killing altweeklies.  Tom Tomorrow commented a few months back, "All of the crazed ubercapitalists running around during the days of Web 1.0, and my industry gets shivved by the lone idealist."

I mean, web or not, it's these people that have the Method to find news and report them down pat - at least news as they're commonly understood. Remember all the complaints that newspapers don't cover science and whatnot? Now web-based publications can fill those holes (see just how popular Slashdot is)

And when the hell has Slashdot ever actually broken, not linked to but actually BROKEN, an important story?

This is exactly what Bongo was saying -- sites that link to articles from mainstream sources are great, but they're not going to do a whole lot of good if the mainstream sources go under.  If Slashdot points me toward a good science article in Wired or Nature or wherever, great, but if those magazines go under, Slashdot's not going to be able to link to their stories.

The aggregate-and-link model simply suggests that, in order to earn a profit, a news site must actually report on articles that are worth reading.  Tying profit to actual quality isn't a terrible thing for most of us, just those who have coasted too long on being able to turn in crud and making a buck anyway for being the only game in town.

True too.  There's no question that a big chunk of the problem is self-inflicted by lazy, infotainment-focused MSM abrogating their standards and responsibility.  But if people can't make a living reporting the news, well, we're pretty fucked.

I need to point out that I still believe strongly in organizations such as the BBC, and the case for public-funded, independent news casts whenever possible.  Ditto for the CBC, although I really couldn't care about the fiction they produce short of the tradition sketch comedies.  These outlets report where traditional private-owned media falls short.

In the US, we've got PBS and NPR, which are theoretically government-funded but in practice survive by begging their audience for money every couple of months.

So if we take away the valuable corporate money backing of news sites, we will somehow be worse off for losing the news we got from those corporate money backed news groups.

Nobody's saying the MSM's perfect.  But it takes an outlet with the resources of the Washington Post to break a story like the Walter Reed scandal.

I'm not following this argument at all.  Question: are you under the impression that aggregators are directing traffic away from the sites that they are feeding from?

In the case of aggregators that reprint all or most of the text from the orginal articles, yes. I agree that a fair-handed aggregator will simply provide links.

This is an important distinction.  The AP has gone into full-on RIAA "sue everything in sight" mode, to the point of actually shouting "Copyright infringement!" when its paying affiliates embed YouTube videos from the official AP YouTube account which fucking allows embedding.

Right now there are publishers taking Google to court saying Google News is hurting them.  This is fucking asinine.  Google News is the best thing they have going for them; we've already seen what head-in-the-sand attacks on technology do to an industry.

I'd say the issue is more the echo chamber -- blogs repeating other blogs repeating other blogs about a story so that most people hear about it from a source other than where it originally appeared.  That's not illegal (except in cases like IM mentions where the articles are actually plagiarized), but it's certainly problematic; if those sites don't get the traffic, they don't get the revenue, and then who's going to actually report the news rather than just repeating it?

And again, there's Craigslist -- also not illegal (well...there's some debate over the whole "erotic services" part), but has gutted for-pay classifieds.  The industry needs to find a new way to make money.  Banner ads are a start, but banner ads alone aren't going to pay many salaries.

See above. I guess I am a naive fool with high-minded ideals but there should be a strict definition and separation of news as a business and news that engages in business. You have to sell out-dated tree-based pamphlets to suckers, sure, but maybe you can see why we'd all be a little better off if Fox News was abolished entirely. They can still show cartoons, I guess.

But Fox News isn't what we're talking about.  We're talking about news media going out of business because they can't make money.  Fox News isn't doing as well as a few years ago, but it's still the most successful "news" source of its type.

I'll take an honest "amateur" over a professional hack any day. Cool position assuming that everyone not associated with a big professional news organization cannot possibly speak the truth any better than they could, I guess!

Are you being deliberately thick?

Find me an amateur blogger who could have possibly dug up, say, what was going on at Abu Ghraib.  It's not a question of integrity, it's a question of resources and access.

Quote
Reporting the news well takes resources and, as with any profession, a degree of professionalism. Therefore, only the funded can tell us the true news?

YES!

How the hell are you going to fly to a foreign country without money?

How the hell are you going to pay your RENT without money?

Journalists need to make a living.  If they can't make a living as journalists, then they're going to have to get income somewhere else.  Working another job means a lot less time to spend breaking important news stories.

And maybe playboy.com and a pair of "unprofessionals" broke the Tea Party origins.

Playboy is an internationally-recognized brand with a 50-plus-year history IN THE FUCKING PRINT INDUSTRY, THAT IS CURRENTLY HAVING TROUBLE STAYING IN THE BLACK.  It is PRECISELY THE FUCKING THING IM IS TALKING ABOUT when he refers to quality traditional news sources that are currently having trouble staying afloat.

...okay, I've written enough and frankly there's a vein starting to bulge in my forehead.  I'll stop there and get back to the rest of the thread later.
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Doom

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #71 on: May 10, 2009, 06:13:17 AM »

The playboy example was more that some rote googling revealed the truth behind the Tea Party movement and I think google is pretty cheap to use these days. That it is hosted on playboy does not necessarily indicate it needed their mighty resources.

If traditional media must exist, I'd really just like it to be slapped about the face a few times so it can reform and I can get better feeds of issues I am interested in without them being designed for the tripe-consumption-by-masses Killjoy was refering to.

Otherwise bibiduuuuu I am defeated by killer insight.
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Ocksi

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #72 on: May 10, 2009, 11:13:41 AM »

If the news appeals to you, rather than the masses, the masses won't consume it, and the market will crumble.  shocking.
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Doom

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #73 on: May 10, 2009, 11:18:04 AM »

It's true, I guess I should care what Miss California thinks about anything.
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Mongrel

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #74 on: May 10, 2009, 02:39:33 PM »

Such is the curse of an undereducated populace.

The higher the education level (in real, practical terms, not just "Hey I finished grade 12 dur hur"), the less you will be interested in stupid distractions and the more that you'll pay attention to - and even understand - the shit that will actually affect your life.

Course, solving that problem is a whole hell of a can of worms.
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Thad

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #75 on: May 10, 2009, 04:15:10 PM »

I'll need a list of things blogger/aggregators/whatever have done that are not glorified anecdotes or Op-ed pieces.

Off the top of my head: Drudge broke the Lewinsky story, left-wing bloggers dethroned Trent Lott, right-wing bloggers picked up on the probable forging of the Bush National Guard documents (though I still suspect this was a deliberate plant on the White House's part), and YouTube cost George Allen his Senate seat.

On the other hand, the Enquirer broke Limbaugh's drug addiction and Edwards's affair, and Hustler helped bring down Gingrich and Barr.  I think blogs, at least as of now, fall under the same heading as tabloids: they'll break an important story now and again, but the signal-to-noise ratio is not good.

Hell, I can't get most foreign news without looking because the US just doesn't care and covering a stalemate or losing war is depressing to Americans I guess.

:facepalm:

The foreign news media are still news media.

This reasoning is the same as "If the MSM goes under, we'll be fine because we still have bloggers to report stories they heard about in the MSM."

This isn't just an American problem; traditional media outlets are hurting all over the world.

Also I'm not up for "all amateurs" either, and hell we both agreed that by sheer inertia any internet amateurs can become as vaunted as professionals. I just think that with a reform to The News as a professional body we can get a huge benefit while those happy amateurs get their thing done.

You keep making vague references to "reform" but not actually describing what kinds of reform you're talking about.  IM suggested a return to the Fairness Doctrine (something nobody in either mainstream party in America seems that damned interested in).  What other regulation and reform would you suggest?

I'd like a clarification of who we're even talking about here.  Do you guys think the AP is going to disappear anytime soon?

The AP does.

...and then there's all Bongo's stuff, which is quite good!  Though I note he focuses on stupid consumers who like crappy news while omitting the agendas of media owners and advertisers who push their own agenda.  It's not an either-or situation; both are very big problems.

The playboy example was more that some rote googling revealed the truth behind the Tea Party movement and I think google is pretty cheap to use these days. That it is hosted on playboy does not necessarily indicate it needed their mighty resources.

Fair, then -- some important stories can be broken by amateurs with a little bit of free time and the skill to use Google.

Do you really think ALL important stories can?

If traditional media must exist, I'd really just like it to be slapped about the face a few times so it can reform and I can get better feeds of issues I am interested in without them being designed for the tripe-consumption-by-masses Killjoy was refering to.

There's that vague hand-waving reference to "reform" again.  What are you actually proposing?

If the news appeals to you, rather than the masses, the masses won't consume it, and the market will crumble.  shocking.

Like I said above, there's some truth to the "audiences are dumb and want car chases" point, but it's not the only problem.  People DO care about important stories like, to reuse these examples again because they're easy, Abu Ghraib and Walter Reed.  The debate about the Bush torture memos is...well, I don't want to say it's important or worthwhile because I'm frankly horrified that we're even DEBATING whether it's ever okay to torture prisoners, but it's something that people on both sides of the issue are certainly enthusiastic about.

Point is, I think there IS an audience for stories that actually matter.  A big one.  And I'd furthermore make the claim that, if mindless non-stories are what the major news providers focus on, then, well, they ARE going to have a lot of trouble competing with the Internet, because the Internet has more of those than even the most dedicated infotainment producers could ever hope to generate.
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Mongrel

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #76 on: May 10, 2009, 04:59:11 PM »

And I'd furthermore make the claim that, if mindless non-stories are what the major news providers focus on, then, well, they ARE going to have a lot of trouble competing with the Internet, because the Internet has more of those than even the most dedicated infotainment producers could ever hope to generate.

:lol:  :perfect:
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Doom

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #77 on: May 10, 2009, 05:17:17 PM »

Quote
Fair, then -- some important stories can be broken by amateurs with a little bit of free time and the skill to use Google.

Do you really think ALL important stories can?

No, but so long as we won't disqualify the efforts of the amateurs.

And yeah Fairness Doctrine sound good, but insert cynical head-shaking regarding modern America here.
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Thad

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #78 on: May 10, 2009, 08:05:09 PM »

No, but so long as we won't disqualify the efforts of the amateurs.

I wasn't.

IM, were you?

I'm all for citizen journalism.  It's just that it's not likely to get you a ticket to Basra.
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Doom

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Re: The Demise of Traditional Media
« Reply #79 on: May 10, 2009, 08:07:45 PM »

High-Fives all around.
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