“The Internet” isn’t the problem: people who can’t adjust to new circumstances are the problem.
The problem, in media, is at least partly that the big publishers are turning themselves into a stupid parody of journalism, in which stories about journalism are somehow given equal billing with real stories about facts and events.
Item: The Paul Kelly incident
Like Laurie Oakes, Paul Kelly now only exists as an outlet for his self-importance. He lets out his sail, and blows to make wind. Paul Kelly has an asinine and infantile tantrum at the Prime Minister on TV – and suddenly there’s a story.
Since the story doesn’t have a fact worth its name to stand on, it’s now all about Paul Kelly’s tantrum. So what goes around the rest of the mainstream outlets is “Kelly said” and “Gillard denied”. That isn’t a story – and it doesn’t rate on the give-a-shit meter of anybody except the Canberra class: a curious bunch of people whose minds are addled by living in a cloistered world in which every story is validated by the consensus endorsement of every outlet running the same damn story.
Everybody’s agreed that their news agenda is the Right News Agenda. If the punters are fleeing the publications, it’s not because the news outlets are boring them to death. It couldn’t be: this must be a story, because everybody rates it as front-page, top-billing, This Is An Important Story.
Rather than being bored rigid, the punters are heading elsewhere. Who’s right?
Item: News Scoops Fairfax Board Negotiations
This is even better than the first example: News Limited claiming to be privy to Fairfax board negotiations.
It’s not only that the story is pointless to absolutely every reader except that small handful (a) who actually work in the media and (b) care (which given those two conditions must be a vanishingly small number).
It’s that every News Limited staffer and shill was sent out on Twitter to pimp the stupid story.
It’s that the only point to the entire story is to let News Limited tell the world it got a chance to stick its thumb in the Fairfax eye, to “singe the beard of the King of Spain”, to pimp its ability to piss in its competitor’s teacup.
What infantile bunch of self-abusers can possibly think that its ability to be a corporate bully is something the rest of the world considers “news”? To be more direct: who cares? You can plant a stool pigeon in the Fairfax board: well done, News Limited, that’s right up there with snooping citizens’ phone messages, buying crooks in the UK, and practicing jihad against science.
If Murdoch’s nasty, polluted, corrupt empire collapses, and its brood of coprophiles have to abandon this absurd pretence at News, journalism will endure. We’ll just have to find some way to do without this crap.