Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mainstream media stagger along in the wake of the web

I am not as severely critical of the mainstream media (MSM) as some web-based observers. However, there is increasing evidence that if you want to be up to date on what is happening in the digital world, the last place to look is your daily newspaper.

Here, for instance, are a couple of UK newspaper articles highlighted yesterday by booktrade.info.

First, a Guardian article on the long tail concept -- an article which tells you very little that you haven't read before, if you've been paying attention. The long tail was covered here, for instance, in my lengthy essay On the Survival of Rats in the Slush Pile, which was issued to the world back in February. And I wasn't exactly ahead of the game myself. I also dealt with the subject in July.

And then there's a piece in the Times, which gives a very quick skim through podcasts, ebooks, digital rights management, and the developments at Google and Amazon.

I am pretty confident that the authors of both these articles are better informed on their areas of expertise than I am. I simply make the point that the editors of a couple of top-class UK newspapers seem to have decided that their role is not to provide really cutting-edge information, but to offer a kind of bland beginner's guide.

Things, I suspect, were not always so.


wfzimmerman said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Well gee. I think my diet of batwings and curry is getting to me.
Ms. Zimmerman said well said.
Something poetic about that.

Present company excepted (I think you are an old news editor), I don't think most bloggers can hold a candle to a seasoned newspaper person. The pro goes detail, detail, detail, climax, while the blogger goes, climax, detail, detail,detail. The devil (or god?) is in the details. A journalist can sort them out for angle and meaning. Journalistic truth is stronger and more fascinating that blogger "fiction".

Heather said...

Any writer, be it blog, newspaper or otherwise needs to remember to think about their audience. When considering the demographics of a newspaper reader vs. an online reader isn’t it common that newspaper readers are of an older age group say 35+ and online readers are more likely to be younger than 35? Wouldn’t it then make sense for newspapers to avoid getting into nerdy details that about half their audience doesn't care to hear about? At the opposite end, when writing for an online audience isn't it more common to believe that readers of online content are, by default, more tech saavy? In addition, readers of online content are specifically searching out this information via search engines. This is not so often the case for readers of newspapers and thus, newspapers try and appeal to a broader group of people.

And before someone gets all out of joint, I’m speaking in general terms. No, I do not think everyone over 35 is a tech idiot.

Anonymous said...

Nicely reasoned.
Well put. You obviously are techsavvy. But there is something like a field of language in a person over 35 (like a field of vision).
And the amateur writer is spotted immediately. Think, really think about your first sentence. Get it?
If you start a novel that way, a seasoned editor can spot two mistakes straight off and will be disinclined to read more of the clever stuff you have to offer.
No disrespect, just an old teacher.
Good luck.

Heather said...

Excuse me Ivan - you may wish to re-examine this sentence of your own:

Journalistic truth is stronger and more fascinating that blogger "fiction".

I see an error.

Am I tech savvy? Just enough so that people who aren't tend to annoy me. Mostly when they are asking me to 'fix' something that isn't broken.

Nice to have met you Ivan, stop by my blog sometime and say hi. I'll do likewise.


Anonymous said...

Heh. Teachers offer explanations (not excuses). Typo, typo. I never make misteaks.
Had a look at your site. Looks good. I'll be by.

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