Exam date

When's the 2016 exam? Wednesday 8th June, am.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Mass media doomed, democracy too with churnalism?

Roy Greenslade recently opined that UK newspapers have reached the cliff edge, and could die out en masse very quickly now. The spark was a dreadful set of annual returns showing even the juggernaut of the Daily Mail struggling with print advertising.
Read article here.
Curran and Seaton looked back to the supposed liberalisation and birth of a free press with the 1853 scrapping of tax on newspapers, highlighting the role that advertisers played in deciding which papers survived the shake up. They found that it was mostly radical (left-wing) papers that closed, with advertisers effectively boycotting titles that spread news or views that undermined their parent businesses capitalist prospects (for instance by spreading knowledge of the trade union movement and fostering a working class consciousness).

Chomsky included advertisers as one of the five filters removing counter-hegemonic ideas and information from mainstream media in his propaganda model.

The role that advertisers can play in shaping editorial was shown when Telegraph columnist Peter Oborne revealed the paper had spiked pieces critical of major advertiser HSBC.

Today's very right-wing S*n newspaper grew out of a left-wing Daily Herald that faced secret services harassment but ultimately folded because they couldn't win sufficient advertising, despite offering the largest newspaper circulation in the country (at one stage the world!) at a time.
What do IPSO, the press regulator, have to say on this? Nothing.

Is this time of extreme pressure a good one to toughen up regulation of the press, with Impress if recognised and granted a royal charter threatening to bring huge fines to the table?

The BBFC arguably showed with their refusal to re-rate Postman Pat to PG that they wouldn't create such financial, business issues for film distributors once a film is in cinemas (all the marketing material, and even the trailer and actual film prints, would need replacing!). Perhaps then it is right if similar leniency is shown to a financially struggling industry ... or maybe the basic principles at stake are just too important to dilute?

Either way, without professional journalism, what hope has democracy got? The churnalists of the Daily Mail website are controversial as they largely rewrite other papers work and re-present it as their own. Google and Facebook are likewise feasting off the expensive product created by mass media papers.
Mass media is over, but where does journalism go from here? (Greenslade, 2016)

With advertising being so utterly dominated by just two online giants, how can a press pay for its content in future? The Times and S*n have both shown that newspaper online subscriptions are a very, very hard sell indeed.


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