Newspapers the only true mass market medium?

In what looks on the surface to be something of an antidote to rumours of ad money moving away from newspapers, the newspapers’ representative body in Ireland has produced figures which show a healthy increase in advertisers spend, and leads Gavin O’Reilly to argue that “newspapers are fragmentation-proof”. Hmmm… This is an argument that will go on for some time. Certainly last time out it was the net optimists who ended with egg on their faces when the dot.com revolution went bust. This time out, whilst papers must surely have to watch their bottom lines, the latest net technologies are speeding up that fragmentation, whether they like it or not. Locking up sites prevents fragmentation, but it also keeps new readers away in their thousands and in some cases even millions. Thanks David!

  • The Dubliner

    The fatal flaw with the ‘alternative’ media is that it isn’t involved in newsgathering, and doesn’t have the financial capacity to buy news from the agencies who are involved in newsgathering. It exists as a parasite on the mainstream media, without even the redeeming merit of being mutually beneficial form of symbiosis. In short, the alternative media can’t ‘replace’ the mainstream media, because it depends on the mainstream media for its existence. What would Slugger have if it couldn’t leech itself onto the body of the mainstream by the expedient of linking to stories?

    The alternative media doesn’t even have the advantage of being free from biased agendas. If Slugger, for example, was seen by the powers-that-be as other than a ‘safe pair of hands,’ how quickly would your sponsorship by the British-Irish Council (a government-funded entity that sprang from the GFA) evaporate? Of course, your editorial independence (i.e. the political slant of the stories you chose to link to, and the ones you chose to ignore) is not compromised in any way your political sponsorship (adjusts halo). The controllers of links (and, by default, the political discussion agenda) aside, the vast bulk of the commentators amount to no more than unofficial spokespersons for their respective tribes, with a small percentage appearing to be paid professional propagandists. Plus the quality of the information proffered by commentators and (and Bloggers) is somewhere between poor and abysmal.

    So, the idea that the alternative media is better than the mainstream is contradicted by the evidence that it is actually progressively worse. But it was a nice idea… and all that.

  • Mick Fealty

    You appear to having a conversation with yourself here Dub. Where have I, even approximately, said this?

    “…the alternative media is better than the mainstream”.

    I think you need to do some basic research into the funding of Slugger (and much else besides).

    The site is paid for by the generousity some of our readers (from all camps it must be said) and the devotion of our bloggers. We should have a short-term deal coming off in the next few weeks with a major mainstream outlet, and we already benefit from some slight financial offcuts from Amazon, Blogads and Google.

    I’ve tried from the beginning of Slugger to narrate the significance of new media forms. There are some things it does well, mostly things the MSM can’t do (hyperlinking to other sites and other views isn’t a failing of MSM, it just isn’t possible).

    But I have never said it does news better than MSM. Indeed I have argued the opposite. It takes money to do newsgathering reliably. Something most bloggers just don’t possess in sufficient quantities.

    I’m not really sure what you mean by this:

    “…without even the redeeming merit of being mutually beneficial form of symbiosis”.

    Check out this site search on journalism and this piece on a seminar at LSE last year. One of the speakers Suw Charmin’s contribution is worth checking out regarding this area:

    …she went on the argue that the either/or premise of the debate overlooked the growing (and largely un-talked-about) symbiotic relationship between mainstream journalists and the blogs they read. She believed there is an opportunity for bloggers and journalists to work together and circumvent the widespread mistrust and misunderstanding amongst the mainstream media.

    There’s more in that section relevant to your concern about the provenance of blogging.

    If you are in any further doubt you can check back through all my past entries by clicking the media category. But I’d be very surprised if I’ve ever said anything resembling what you’ve suggested I have.

    Slugger is a big tent. I cannot say I personally agree with what everyone blogs here – that would be humanly impossible. But I have made efforts to give people with their own agendas the opportunity push it and have actively encouraged others to set up their own shops elsewhere. The blogosphere is not Slugger. It exists way beyond our admittedly limited shores. And it can facilitate any number of world views and agendas.

  • “a small percentage appearing to be paid professional propagandists.

    Not to mention that you’re way behind in me pay.

    Square the account or it’s another session with Guido and The Bonebreakers.