Evolving news

A contrast to Conor Brady’s opinion of blogging, who does seem to be hankering after a lost, and perhaps non-existent, age.. this time from a journalist who also blogs, Newsnight’s Paul Mason. In a Media Guardian article which primarily concentrates on his prediction of the end to the dedicated rolling news channels such as SkyNews and BBC24, he points to how those channels benefitted news gathering, but also suggests that they fail to deliver to an emerging market for news that is immediate, and also focused and detailed. Whether those evolutionary pressures have informed Conor Brady’s viewpoint isn’t exactly clear..On blogging, which is just one of the influences he notes in the rolling news’ rise and fall, he has this to say –

The internet, through blogs but also through news aggregators such as Yahoo! and Google, has challenged another myth that some in TV had accepted: that the audience wants immediacy instead of depth. If anything, there is more demand for analysis than immediacy during the parallel rise of broadband and blogging.

In addition, the limitations of rolling news as a news medium are beginning to block its ability to set the pace in terms of design. When it first started, the bosses consoled themselves for the low viewing figures with the promise that, once viewers saw what they were missing – all those dramatic sound stings, breaking news straps, crawling text, blinking arrows and massive sets – they would be drawn to this visual feast. Today the feast is to be found online – and it is not just visual. It is the immersive experience of interaction in real time with real people that compels users to stay online for hours – whether on eBay or World of Warcraft.

Rolling news has been an achievement: it raised the game of TV news organisations in the battle for immediacy, global presence and local relevance. But broadcast news has to move into a cross-platform world now. Rolling news is a medium that cannot be interactive, lacks sufficient power to tell a story and is no longer unrivalled as the way to get moving pictures to a mass audience. As people begin to create and share their own content, and the PC screen merges with the television, it is worth asking “what’s the point of rolling news?”

Maybe the persistently small audience share and the demise of the ITV News Channel are messages from the market, and the message is: the “drag and drop” generation wants something better.

Read the full article, it covers more than the quoted section

  • If anything, there is more demand for analysis than immediacy during the parallel rise of broadband and blogging.

    I’m not really sold on this one.

    I’d tend to agree that the demand is there for analysis, but I’m just not convinced that bloggers provide it.

    As you know yourself, Pete, most news-blogging feeds on news stories that come from mass media anyway, so most of the blogging analysis, if it could be called such, is just an analysis of what has already been mediated.

    Blogging analysis might not be subject to the same filters as a mainstream news outlet, but it is still the mainstream news outlet that frames the story.

    And blogs have their own filters too – nearly every one has its own ‘schtick’, to the extent that once you’re familiar with the blog, you can predict what a blogger is going to say about a news story before you read him/her.

    As such, a lot of what passes for ‘analysis’ is really just some geezer mulling over the story itself and saying whatever it is you would expect him to say.

    This week there are probably a million blogs giving analysis on Iran, but much of the ‘analysis’ you get seems, to me at least, to be a reaction to the story initially provided by the mainstream. And, if it’s analysis you’re after – something that comes out of patient reflection and review – and not instant reaction – the calibre of the stuff is pretty poor: ‘We should invade/confront/bring sanctions against Iran’/’Gee this is just like Iraq, only worse’/’That Ahmadinejad sure is one scary guy’ -perhaps accompanied with ‘hey – I said this back in August!’.

    And then you get the reaction to the reactions on other blogs, and what this other blogger said about the story when it originally broke. In the end it becomes pretty tedious.

  • I tend to see it as an evolving situation, Hugh, hence the thread title.. as you say, the demand is there.. someone will supply it. Paul Mason thinks that the news outlets will move in that direction.. bloggers can do that too.

    As for the reliance on news outlets at the minute.. sure.. they are the most easily accessed, not just for the bloggers, but for the readers too.. where what’s being referenced can at least be checked and since this is an unpaid gig *ahem* time is a factor.. but, as with my recent post – the evidential case continued to be met – there can be a move towards using more sources closer to the story.

  • Tara

    “…we lost the concept of “story” – an editorial process whose outcome is a narrative with a beginning, middle and end, and hopefully a meaning.”
    I couldn’t agree more w/ this statement. How tired are those long hours of reporting that go no place? The rolling news channels have a void to fill and they do it by reporting on things that aren’t newsworthy with the hope that they become newsworthy. It is a medium that I hope loses steam, because it degrades journalism.