From The Guardian
Newspapers and coffee were the lifeblood of an emerging public realm. Public as a definition of spaces and experiences open and shared by everyone: not circumscribed by kin, patronage or client relationships. A truly public place is one where communities and solidarity can be imagined, shaped and built. A place where anyone can deliberate on the political decisions that govern our lives. A place that gives life to democracy.
Wind the clock forward a few centuries and these notions of public are under threat. People are losing confidence in the ability of our public and corporate institutions to serve the collective interest. The forum of the newspaper to hold power to account is under threat too: the digital revolution is disrupting the economic model of producing news.
This is what’s at stake: that a diverse independent media is stripped out, leaving an elite of oligarchs to dominate the distribution of information behind the barrier of a paywall. This amounts to the privatisation of trusted, accurate information, so that it becomes the preserve of a wealthy minority – the equivalent of a gated community.
Go back 20 years and you had less than a dozen national newspapers, Private Eye, The Spectator, The New Statesman, a couple of regionals and a local paper or two in each town. Compare that to today where there are thousands of news blogs, hundreds of news sites, as well as all of that and you'd have to conclude that the past was much closer to "elite of oligarchs dominating the distribution of information".
And I do wonder about this funding of investigative journalism and how accurate and trusted information is. There were plenty of whiffs about what was going on in Rochdale (and Nick Griffin almost went to jail for comments related to what was going on up there), but The Guardian never looked into it despite having hundreds of millions of pounds in the Scott Trust to "hold power to account". On the other hand, they did have money to pay someone to print lies about the News of the World in the hacking story.
I'm generally more impressed with the work on blogs nowadays. I see people who are far more knowledgeable in their subjects, more likely to spot things about government policies than the papers do. And also, genuinely more independent.
So, maybe there's a new model, and maybe it's more powerful. That instead of stories coming from a few journalists paid to look at things full-time, we instead have thousands of people looking at things in their spare time, perhaps not even posting more than something that opens things up, but combined create a bigger picture.
Thursday, 11 September 2014
From The Guardian
My latest blogpost: Well, no, not reallyTweet this! Posted by The Stigler at 19:18