Sunday, July 10, 2011

NOTW just surface story– real story is tectonic shift to web

Will Self uttered a word and a metaphor on Newsnight last week that said more than everything else I’ve read on the NOTW/Murdoch farrago. “This whole embroglio is epiphenomenal, evidence of the transition between print and electronic culture, between the two tectonic plates of different media”. Brilliant.

1. Newspapers have been squeezed by drops in circulation, as the young don’t read them (all online) and the old will die off.

2. Newspapers have been squeezed by drops in advertising revenues, it’s shifted online and not coming back.

3. Newspaper and traditional media groups no longer at top of food chain and can’t bully everyone, even politicians, as undermined by web – Wikileaks, social networking etc.

4. Old-school journalists had to start to pay for stories, pay policemen, private detectives, missing new online sources.

5. Old-school journalists trapped in tabloid, print culture and kow-tow to Middle England homophobic, xenophobic, benefit cheat, paedo-bashing, proprietor’s political line.

6. Failed to understand that emails are archived and deletion is not really ‘deletion’, so detectible evidence bites back.

7. Mobiles ubiquitous and easy to access voicemail (they were never’hacked’) through default PIN numbers (that’s what Glenn Mulcaire used).

8. Social media (Avaaz & 360) campaigns amplified OFCOM complaints so that BskyB decision cannot proceed.

There’s much schadenfreude in the rest of the print press about the loss of ‘tradition’, as if the demise of the NOTW were some sort of cultural disaster. I think not. The demise of the tabloids is inevitable as they’re not really newspapers but celebrity mags and rags. All of this is just a suface phenomenon. Actually, to take Will Self’s metaphor further, it’s merely a few volcanoes letting off some steam, while below the surface the real tectonic shift has happened. The print plate is being driven beneath the electronic plate and new virtual mountains being formed. These old media companies forgot that they are in the ‘news’, not the ‘newspaper’ business. That’s why Murdoch could easily sacrifice the tatty NOTW, the shift to electronic media and the web has happened.

Print journalists, the police and politicians have yet to waken up to the fact there's a new game in town and it's online. Stop hiring these old-school media directors like Coulson and Baldwin, they're poisonous and actually don't know how these new media work. It's like watching a bust-up in an old-folks home!


Dick Moore said...

The shift is tectonic in size and scale, the Will Self interview as good but may have missed the point, This whole storm and the demise of the NOTW is as much about grabbing the new frontier as the inadequacy of the old. It seems to me that the BSB bid with its control of digital infrastructure has been the prize for some years and all will be sacrificed on the alter of averice to get it.

News Corp currently owns 39% of Sky
and delivers into 10 million homes, I am not sure how many homes use their email service but with multiple addresses per home its not small, imagine the fun Mr Mulcare could have with that infrastructure combined with weblogs and phone records.

I have avoided sky services for some years exactly for this reason.

Your point about email being a persistent medium is well made, yet corporations still use this as the core way to send you passwords and account names hmmmmm

Lastly the point about Glen Mukcaire only using default pin codes is a bit naive, this piece in the guardian link below suggests that "interception" techniques where used. and its all too easy to do I am afraid.

New landscape new threats.

These issues are not being talked about much and that talk from Mr Murdock Jnr on the dominance of the BBC in 2009 is brought to mind. I know who I would rather get my news from thanks.

The dominance of the BBC

That talk but

Ian said...

This all true but it doesn't explain the recent growth of the Daily Mail - an operation that has very successfully exploited the prejudices of it's readers in middle England. (Europe, benefit cheats, immigration, prison reform etc), whilst targeting it's online operation at a celebrity-obsessed international community, particularly in the US, where newspapers continue to be strangely straight-laced.