Networks versus corporate journalism?

This defence of the ‘old media’ agin the young pretenders from Guardian Ed Alan Rusbridger: though surely some of us bloggers have been around long enough to begin to feel their way beyond petulence of early (and irresponsible) youth!! He argues:

…no one will actually go to the risk and expense of setting up a global network of people whose only aim in their professional lives is to find things out, establish if they’re true, and write about them quickly, accurately and comprehensibly.” Mr Rusbridger said the “blogosphere, which is frequently parasitical on the mainstream media it so remorselessly critiques, can’t ever hope to replicate that”.

However…Suw Charmin questioned this conventional idea of one way benefit to bloggers at an LSE seminar several years ago. It is also ironic that it comes from Rusbridger since the paper’s online brand substantial presence in the US, has largely been achieved through its early notoriety amongst right wing US bloggers.

And connecting with those off site conversations is the thing that has made the Guardian second only to the BBC, as the largest news site in the world. Where I disagree with Russbrigder is in the idea that that kind of corporate capacity cannot be more cheaply achieved by new ‘communities’ of ‘expert’ bloggers and taggers similarly committed to the best journalistic values with advent of the connective Internet. Indeed, the truth is that the best of his team simultaneously hold multiple memberships of the professional (ie salaried) cadre, and a whole slew of more specialist ad hoc communities, out there on the net.

As John Naughton has pointed out there will be no meltdown of the mainstream in the short term. Yet the challenge to create and maintain value is profound. Even advertisers are scratching their heads as to the best way into this new disaggregated landscape, where there are no grand narratives to disrupt. Alan Moore:

New revenue streams have to be created, and also new value. Big media also will no longer be able to dominate markets as it once did. Networking technologies have slain the bockbuster economics of mass media.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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