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06 May 2007


Barry McCarthy

Love the Spiderman reference! Very topical.


The item on broadcasting house needs also to be seen in the context of a modern media which sacrifices news and gives opinion and interpretation instead.

his case is much more understandable as a reaction against the US media, all of whose major news outlets are falling over themselves to include segments about what blogger's are saying. A news anchor sitting at a computer reading other people's opinions doesn't make for great viewing - but it does give the appearence of interaction.

But this has developed in part as a way of chasing an audeince who are dissatisfied with a 24hr news culture which defines 1 or 2 stories and incessently talk about them, covering little new material. These viewers are going online and reading opinion.

The blog news model allows a much wider coverage, but at significant cost.

Any hope of balance is lost - reading only one side of a story, there is huge loss of perspective and balance. It often becomes, party political mud slinging. There is no hope of understanding the other persons point of view. There is demonisation of the opposition, not engagment and debate.

No chain of accountability occurs. When a news organisation makes a serious material mistake fingers can be pointed, sources traced and sometimes people take responsibility. The bloging comunity has none of these features, because it is all opionion and fact and talk is cheap. Sure there may be a loss of long term credibility, but the word is out and the damage is done.

The failure here, is partly on behalf of the news media for not doing the difficult reporting, for not offering decent news coverage which is broadbased.

Additionally as a society we instead are obsessed with a need for breaking news ("a first draft of a half truth"). We want to know now, not a decent set of facts, but something, quickly, because knowledge makes us feel important. We also have become lazy and insular, we want our media to pander to our prejudices (see Yes, Prime Minister) but also not to upset us with showing us reality.

.....Serious story (uk), consumer story, celebrity story of no consequence, fluffy animal story.....

Sure, the media make me nervous. Power concentration is not a good thing when balance is needed. But in the UK the regulatory framework which demands balance and provides accountability is much more preferable to a news "coverage" in peoples online journals.

Eye witness accounts are always going to be part of the news - it is story telling. Modern technology has allowed this to include photos and video. But I'd rather they were used by professionals, operating with in an enviroment which demands balance and the right to reply.



At over two years old and with the term hijacked by O'Reilly, "Web 2.0" is already on the way out. Some of us are looking forward to Web 3.0, the semantic web of data.

A Tait

Speaking of newspapers attempting to form public opinion, we have the example in the run up to the elections of headlines screaming of the dangers of breaking up the Union. Whether these dangers were real or imagined in many cases the reader was only told one side of the arguement which hardly equips them to make up their own minds. The internet has opened up a whole new world of sources of information, (and, yes, dis-information), for those with access to it to browse, read and add to. This is no doubt a matter of concern to those who like to keep a tight hold of the reins of longer established information and news outlets! Their takings could be hit!

I was struck by how much the internet has revolutionised how we find out things when I was watching "All the President's Men" on DVD the other day. Journalists Woodward and Bernstein were on the trail of the people who organised the Watergate break-in when they came to the name Kenneth H Dahlberg as a link in the chain of suspicious political funding. Cue much searching of Who's Who type books and 'phone directories.......no Google in those days!

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  • Scottish Anglican Network
    A network in Scotland of Anglican churches and individuals who follow Jesus and are enthusiastic for Him to be known in our communities.
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