Commentariat: a well paid elite whose days are numbered…

Editorial Intelligence has release a video of the Commentariat versus Bloggertariat debate (one of the better write-ups here; and the Mum’s Net rep started a good crowd sourcing thread on the subject – read from bottom up) the other night in London. It was pretty combative and lively, with an audience drawn from the great and the good of UK journalism… Charles (heartless man) wants to know why we are paying for the Commentariat when we can have so much more for free…

We are reverting to something like the hubbub of three hundred years ago, when countless noisy pamphlets and broadsheets (‘news-papers’) and other forms of written material jostled for position. Gradually that led to consolidation as some people bought the expensive kit to let them distribute on a national scale.

But now the point is that mass distribution is mainly free. And competition as always is driving down prices, in this case towards zero. The Commentariat’s days as an elite getting paid for what they do are numbered. For better or worse, and no doubt both.

This gets to the heart of the real change being wrought, as Charles says for good or for ill, by the Internet. That change is ruthless, and when it gets to critical mass has the capacity to disconnect those companies and organisations who have not begun to find new ways to find new disaggregated audiences. Or have left it too long on the back burner as something they once wanted get around to doing.

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