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Monday, August 21, 2006


Old Media v New Media

Yesterday I was catching up on some West Wing Episodes.

One in particular got me thinking.

C.J. (the press secretary) came across a story where the law had changed to allow media corporations to control a larger percentage of the media market. She was concerned, but no-one else seemed to be.

It is actually a very pertinent topic for Australians at the moment.

The Federal Communications minister, Senator Helen Coonan, wants to deregulate the Australian media market.

Basically what this means is that the same company could own a television station, a newspaper and a radio station all in the same market, i.e.. Melbourne.

I am always interested in talking to people about what is happening in the world. I think that I can categorise the people I talk to into four broad categories:

1) Those who don't follow any news and don't know what is going on.

2) Those who see one news item and then think they are an expert and have an expert opinion.

3) Those who explore the news but can still only articulate the view/argument that they agree with.

4) Those who are able to articulate more than one point of view and therefore have come to a decision based on 'all' the facts.

There are very few people who fit into the fourth category and I would definitely not claim to fit there all the time.

The problem with deregulation is that biased media outlets (FOX anyone?) would be influencing the decision of the first 3 groups of people.

The 'New media' in the title is the rise of new ways of getting news and information out to people.

The rise of the internet and especially blogging is the greatest example of 'New media'.

Check out The Onion, considered one of the best 'New Media' sites.

While New Media has many advantages over the 'Old Media' of print and television media, it also has challenges.

Anyone can post material on a blog and it isn't always accurate.

I talk to so many people who spout views that are so obviously based on one sided coverage of an event.

There are so many issues where this is self evident, not least the History Wars currently such an interesting topic for our Prime Minister.

I have been attempting lately to widen the sources I use to get information. I use RSS to get news sent to me, rather than having to go looking for it. The only problem is that I when I check my computer in the morning, I have accumulated 100 news stories overnight.

Many great Christians over the past 300 years have been attributed with the saying, "Hold your Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other".

Now more than ever, we need people who are prepared to understand the complexities of issues and speak prophetically.

The other story running concurrently in the episode was around the issue of Free Trade and how Josh had to struggle with how it would create millions of new jobs for the nation in the future, but the 2 people who were sitting in his office and 17,000 like them were going to lose there jobs today.

At the start of the episode Josh is trying to tell the president that when he talks about the Free Trade agreement on TV he needs to make it as simple as "Free Trade creates higher paying jobs"

It is a classic moment at the end when the President, with his Nobel Prize for Economics turns to Josh and says "The issue isn't as simple as a throw away line."

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i think i probably fit in with category one. the reason i don't watch news is because i don't often get to pick what is on the televison...and alot of the time its futrama, simpsons, family guy, according to jim, shows i don't like or i'm so totally over. so i just don't watch it. and we don't get to see news because its always on austar. we used to always watch ACA and Today Tonight, and the local news even. I'lla dmit I'm prob affected my "new media" (maybe in my understanding) thru blogging, and i'm not sure what you mean about one sided views...but i have said biased things with my persuasive eng. pieces...mmmm....not sure if this is going anywhere.
however, i do hear the 830news most mornings on the radio...so i'm not ALWAYS completely out of it, but don't really know much about anything to talk about it. don't know....
ACA and Today Tonight are perhaps the greatest example of:
1) the dumbing down of news for a mass audience.
2) the use of 'news' shows to push a particular political/social agenda.

I love The Chaser because almost every week they have a segment called "What we learned from Current Affairs this week".
It is great because they highlight the idiocy or the hypocricy of the Current Affairs shows.
Like the shows they run on 'dole bludgers' or dieting.

What is even funnier is when people quote them as gospel truth.
I suppose it isn't funny, it is scary, because it shows that people take that crap as 'news'.
Hey Liam,

Um... i kind of think i am in the middle of catagory one and catagory three... I dont really watch the news, only when i have no choice, its not that i am one of those kids who thinks the news is boring, its more that EVERYTHING on the news seems depressing, everything seems to be about death, drugs, war, ect... Why do i want to watch that?

Although... When i do watch stories that may apply to me, my beliefs, my values, ect. I can "usually" have an artriculate conversation about it...

(unless u start with your HUGE words again...lol)

anys... my maths is still staring at me! so.. yh...
hey Liam
have you seen the movie V for Vendetta? Your post reminded me of it actually. The way the media lied about everything to suit whatever the dictatorship wanted. Scary. Yet the movie shows the public knowing it and just putting up with it. Good movie if you get a chance to see it. I think it's very scary that this might happen to our media to the extent of deregulating - it's bad enough as it is!
Hey Liam,
How do you get the minions out to get your news for you? Got any suggestions about how to selectively get a wide variety without getting 100 emails? I know we started talking about this the other day...have you got a second to tell me how to do this?
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