Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hard news

Meanwhile, websites are not obligated to spend money on newsprint, printing plants, or union drivers to drop their product at readers’ doorsteps. Yet they benefit from linking to all that work they’ve not done or paid a nickel for. And they supplement this borrowed reporting with user-generated content and material produced by freelancers who are paid a pittance or nothing at all. They’ve also opted for chat rooms and ongoing dialogues among their adherents—a laudable, democratic impulse, but one that often devolves into an unedited legitimization of stupidity and bigotry.
The newspapers are fading away and its all our fault, we Internet types who want our information for nothing; some provocative commentary from The Atlantic Monthly, which also tells of the decline of the New York Times. As the New Yorker cartoon said, on Internet no-one knows you're a dog.

8 comments:

Giovanni said...

The quote you offer didn't bode well - especially the last sentence - but you're right, it is a provocative piece. Especially coming from somebody who owns up to writing for the Huffington Post.

Obviously good newspaper reporting is valuable and it would be a shame to see it go. But no mention of the quality of newspaper reporting overall? How did the reporting by the mainstream media in the leadup to the Iraq war work out? That the Internet's fault too?

And I guess it'd do no harm to mention series five of The Wire, which is about this very topic.

But, as I say, quite an interesting piece, although it cried for a better sub-editor: where it says "dazzling British playwright, Tom Stoppard", it should obviously have read "mediocre, derivative British playwright, Tom Stoppard".

Paul said...

I agree. The quality of writing and discussion on some blogs exceeds that of the papers. The author also fails to note that some bloggers make news stories, often those that the papers ignore or later take up. Besides, there must be many like me who, on the rare occasions they buy a paper, deposit many of its sections in the bin outside the dairy.

You are not going to provoke me with your comments about Stoppard. I am not going to ask, "derivative of whom?"

Giovanni said...

The author also fails to note that some bloggers make news stories, often those that the papers ignore or later take up.

He has a point, though, bloggers cannot be expected to report on stories like Walter Reed's. Somebody needs to be employed (and have the appropriate credentials) in order to do that kind of work. Which reminds me: didn't we have other media besides printed newspapers, whatchamacallthem... radio and television? Which by and large you also don't pay to access, just like the Internet? What happened to those?

You are not going to provoke me with your comments about Stoppard. I am not going to ask, "derivative of whom?"

And I'm not going to reply: Beckett, Pinter, you name 'em, he copies them, draining them of their soul and their truth.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see a reference to the "dog on internet" cartoon. You are aware of the 9/12/05 Alex Gregory new, improved version?
Two dogs. One saying "I had my own blog for a while, but I decided to go back to just pointless, incessant barking."
Cracks me up.
I should point out I run a blog too and greatly enjoy the Fundy Post and many others as well as deriving no small entertainment from some of the nuttier fringes of the NZ blogpond.
But that's a good cartoon all bloggers should keep in mind.
Stoppard's not that bad.
Becket is funnier though.

PH

Lyndon said...

You are not going to provoke me with your comments about Stoppard.

Paul's Obama-like composure is a lesson to us all.

Though, irrespective, Giovanni needn't be so hard on the subs. 'Dazzling' is not strictly the same as 'good'.

Sanctuary said...

In the mid-nineteenth century London had something like 150 newspapers and other news periodicals. They catered for every taste and jostled for space with the competition at the newsagents.

It is my view that the internet is doing is returning the media to a time before corporate control. All we need to do now is repeal all libel laws and Swiftean vigor will be returned to the press!!!

Anonymous said...

Giovanni -- TV and radio almost never break stories; they tend to follow newspapers. Look at the news list on Morning Report and Nine to Noon and you'll see many newspaper follow-ups. And that's even more true of television.

Giovanni said...

TV and radio almost never break stories; they tend to follow newspapers.

Really? You mean in NZ? I thought that they relied on press agencies for the daily churn and did investigations of their own - that would be my understanding of what happens in other countries.