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We have to go back!!!

19/06/2012

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No. I do not mean to the Howard era.

And yes. I know its been a while since my last confession.

Look. Ever since Rupert Murdoch made the claim that opinion is news, I have been alarmed to see that no one sees the danger here. You see, when NEWSpapers fail to correctly report on the news or they opt to decide what they declare as news, then the opinion is not on news, but on incorrectly reported news and therefore is incorrect opinion.

Newspapers worldwide have been struggling to catch up with the 24 hour news cycle they helped to create. Problem they have is the time to print the news. It takes time to make the paper. In that time the news itself may have changed three or four times.

Now digitally, you can present a running case of ‘breaking news’ stories and in a timely fashion. But you can not do this for newspapers. So in a way, Rupert is right in using opinion as the driver of print. Opinion survives a few days so print time is not a worry. All you need to do is attract then sell your opinion writers.

But what he is incorrect about is then calling them NEWSpapers. They are more Opinionpapers. Yes. It still has news articles, but its the opinions they are really selling. That and the advertising.

The concern now with Fairfax facing a hostile take over is in the need to save cost, less journalists will be out actually reporting news. That means all opinions on the news has a limited and in some cases singular source.

You often see political commentators giving opinions about speeches the PM gave and they had not even read the damn thing. They read an opinion about it and that opinion writer based it on notes from a person who was there. No transcript of the speech. Just a few selected lines that push a agenda. And off they go on the merry go round.

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All fun till someone loses an eye.

Take the story today about the head of the European Commission apparently slamming the Prime Minister for her comments yesterday. An editor somewhere decided to take the comments made to a question made by a Canadian journalist on North America to must also mean the Prime Minister.

Off went the bullshit brigade. Opinions about it flew fast and thick. Then the air wave red necks joined into the Prime Minister kicking.

It was not until the REAL story was published that the whole beat up was discovered. And by a rival news paper.

Now consider this. Gina Reinhart wants to buy a paper. And is doing it for purely political reasons. And she wants the right to stamp the paper with her ‘view’ on news.

Some are saying its her money. If people don’t like the paper they will not buy it. Only problem there is in Australia, the alternative to Fairfax in most metropolitan areas is News Limited. 70% owned in fact.

People are saying Gina is spending up to 2 billion on this take over. I call that a great investment. For shy of 2 billion, Gina secures her mining fortunes for 50 years. Think about this. 18 billion plus a year for 50 years. She has no problems running this paper into the ground and still have a great investment worth 100s of billions.

And if the paper dies, then the population rushes to Rupert and his opinion about Gina’s mining interest seems to be the same as Gina’s. Win win. Now 100% of newspapers spruik Gina’s plans for the nation.

So we really have to go back. Back to when newspapers reported news and the odd opinion rather than opinion and the odd news. Back to when journalists reported what was said rather then their interpretation of what is said. Yes that journalist can still give an opinion. But not in the headline. In a summary.

By shaping the story to represent the opinion, then you misrepresent the news. This is not journalism. This is deception.

So we have to go back. We have to be shown the 5 minute press conference from beginning to end. Not just the 2 second grab that then becomes the opinion topic of pages of print and endless blogs like this one with opinions about other opinions that give us opinions about someone’s opinion of what is news.

Seriously. Stop it. My head hurts.


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A. Ghebranious 2012

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2 Comments
  1. Suz permalink

    Quality investigative journalism is too costly, too few people have the time to read. The irony, no independent digital blog has yet to produce the quality of investigative news our papers once provided-it is not,as yet, cost effective.

    I see this interim period as bridging-broadsheet will be mostly obsolete, digital replacement will require excellence to acquire a loyal following free from paid walls – advertising per circa indicative of content. Current state of quot, the political party favored by The Australian is our elected government.

    Newspaper journalists need to fill a column, an agenda. Too many words often transpire. Digital allows the facts in bullet form, well researched, all arguments presented with equality, supporting links, pictures, video etc

    Gina’s bid to take control of Fairfax will expedite better media providing consumers and contributors make intelligent choices.

    Independent blogs will undergo Darwinian culling. Required is a platform to facilitate and ween the masses from mainstream tv, radio and print editorial (in cohorts). ABC an obvious choice, despite accusations of bias, Bob Brown an adjudicator?

    The platform will require initial promotion within the mainstream, not sure if ABC is permitted to do so, also Ash, sure you are move conversant on the recent findings of the media review – with Fairfax receiving such attention, perfect timing for the recommendations to be implicated?

    • I actually think they bite the bullet and follow the tech flow. Yes it will always take time to print a newspaper and distribute it and it therefore is not capable of presenting news as efficiently as digital.

      But people will still buy papers to read differing VIEWS on the news.

      So what you do is you escalate news delivery to mainly digital formats. And you leave the print to formulate opinions OR to formulate those investigative journalist pieces in much more depth.

      In that way, a media outlet can still report the news via digitally and then EXPAND the news via their print media. The time it takes to do a investigative story and the cost can be spent over both formats as a good story will get not only the print run, but a run elsewhere in that media outlet.

      Basically if you want to ‘READ ALL ABOUT IT’ these days, then you set up your phone to receive breaking news text messages..

      But to then read all about the opinion on the news, you read the print story.

      Leave the breaking news for media that can break news much quicker then print and concentrate on what print does best and that is delivery OPINION. Opinion is better suited for print. It has a longer life as I mentioned so it will still be relevant for days after the paper is printed. But news changes so fast OR it is misreported in the first instance that print ends up looking like a dill. We saw that with the Anders Brevik case and even yesterday with the PM apparently getting smacked down by the EC chief.

      So even though digital offers the fastest way to deliver the news, it is fundamental that that news be as accurate and as non biased as possible in the first instance. After that people can express opinion. But if the report is misleading then so are the opinions.

      I think what we need is more anally retentive front line reporters. I rather they give me ALL the info then selected pieces any day.

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