Old media vs New media

Old media vs New media, media is media, in all its sometimes ridiculous  glory whether we get our media from The Sindo, Blogs, The Times, The Journal.ie or the tweet machine that is sometimes an information assault on the senses.

Twitter for the most part should be treated with skepticism as a source for media as RTE found out to their embarrassment recently. The Sean Gallagher juggernaut had ground to a halt and was a lame duck at this stage, he had been found out to be prone to the type of Fianna Fáil spoofery that we had grown weary of, so he was finished anyway. The vindictive attack on Gallagher from Sinn Féin just the final nail in his presidential coffin.  Still, almost every program on TV and Radio reads out tweets from its audience members and twitter has become an integral part of interaction with them.

I mention blogs, every so often a blogger will break a story that otherwise wouldn’t have been brought to our attention. Suzy Byrne over on Maman Poulet the most notable in the current affairs sphere or during elections,  Alexia  over on Election.ie always has some gems.

I would like to point out im just an asshole with an opinion that don’t necessarily qualify me as media, qualifies me for a job with the Sindo maybe,  after all if Bertie’s former girlfriend, hairdresser Celia Larkin can get a political column at the Sindo why can’t the gal that does your bikini line.

The so-called Old media are struggling to come to grips with the digital age. Where anyone can be a so-called citizen journalist and every maniac with an opinion will give it.  Ethics and standards in this area are non-existent and are usually lower than Fianna Fáil of old. Nearly all breaking news stories come via twitter whether it be a journalist tweeting said story or some loon that overheard something in the Dáil bar making it known.

What it comes down to is market share and revenue from advertisements. One cant help but feel that if Super Value were to go broke so would the Sindo, this is where old media are losing the battle. When is the last time you saw anyone under the age of 30 buying a newspaper let alone read one on the bus or Dart on their way into work? Readership figures are down in all titles. People are glued to their smart phones or laptops. Digesting little snippets of news on the various websites, tweeting or face-booking and putting their own slant on stories depending on what side they get out of the bed. Why pay money for a news paper when the Journal.ie will “aggregate” it (I shall come back to that) or somebody will tweet a link to said story ?

This past week a future of journalism seminar was organised  by UL Journalism students Jason Kennedy  and Rachel Power all very well-intentioned and worthwhile. Little or no mention of ethics though, in a week dominated by the journalistic ethics of RTE . The Sunday Independent taking the moral high ground of course. The Sindo questioning RTE’s  journalistic ethics is a bit like Hitler giving Stalin a firm talking about the wrongs on genocide. Remember Jody Corcoran’s Sindo’s story on Liam Lawor’s death? The Sindo also ran a story on Pat Fincucane where they falsely claimed the murdered Human Rights Lawyer was a Provo, they shelled out €500,000 in damages and costs there . Ethics should be at the fore of any discussion on journalism. The Sindo is less about journalism and stories now and more about opinions.  Opinions are grand sure once we don’t have to think to deeply about them. I wont go there about The Sindo’s life magazine, the poor mans playboy.

The #foj12 seminar at times seemed to be a discussion about new media vs old media , Hugh Linehan the Irish Times online editor was not very optimistic for the future of print media .Which will warm the cockles of old-fashioned hacks everywhere.  The Irish times will be rolling out a comments section similar to the Journal.ie apparently . IdI imagine though they will be stricter in their comments policy than the Journal.ie , the comments section on the Journal.ie reads like Politics.ie on cocaine without the anonymity.

If there was a dead pool for Irish publications The Examiner and Sunday Business Post would surely be top of the list. Incidentally, The Examiner’s Dolan O’Hagan said the future for young journalists is as bright as it has ever been. With less print publications of course it is Donal……. The future is digital… Interesting what his boss Alan Crosbie, chairman of Crosbie Holdings which owns the Irish Examiner and Sunday Business Post had to say about the “chaos” of online information:

We need to address the threat to humanity posed by the tsunami of unverifiable data, opinion, libel and vulgar abuse in new media. I know all the stuff about it being a tool of freedom and democracy, and I also know it has the capacity to destroy civil society and cause unimaginable suffering.”   

You’d be forgiven for thinking that twitter was the Fourth Reich and the Journal.ie were its Gestapo overlords after reading that comment. As The Financial Times ’s John Lloyd observed it was a speech born of  “the passion of desperation”.

The Journal.ie the great Satan to Irish print media depending on whose point of view you solicit. They are providing a service to the click zombies and dominate the Irish online market when it comes to news. They loftily claim they are news “aggregators” and rather precious when asked about sources….

.@BiddyEarly how many pieces does thejournal write a week that doesn’t link to external sources or is sourced from a paper?

Rather precious response from the editor of the Journal.ie where she dodges the question everybody is asking. Just how much content is lifted from the Newspapers ?

@lexia Count ’em. Too busy producing them. Listen, you’re clearly not on board with @thejournal_ie so I won’t preach at you. Good luck to u.

It would seem pretty obvious that a significant amount of content on the Journal.ie comes from other journalists not in the employment of the Journal.ie . Other Journalists who have contacts and do the legwork. The appropriation of such work costing the print media millions.  It costs the Journal how much to aggregate this ? Do they pay or contribute financially for such stories ? Imitation is the greatest form of flattery indeed….

The legal eagles down the 4 gold mines have been talking about legal rumblings against the Journal.ie for a while now. The NNI have got a bit tetchy recently and asked that the Journal.ie to stop linking back stories back to its members websites. One can only presume the NNI are trying to give the Journal enough rope…. You can expect The Journal is not the only online publication in their sights.

The Journal in its defense has improved in original content material since its inception, they will also argue they are providing an online service. But at what cost to the old media that are doing its donkey work ?

The end result New media will win out, they will just have to learn the skills of old fashioned hacks first.


About Paul Duggan

Politics, humour, Liberal, Curmudgeon, Rogue. Creator and author of Irish Shades of Grey.
This entry was posted in Irish current affairs, Irish media and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Old media vs New media

  1. Michael O'Toole says:

    Nice piece.

  2. Nick McGivney says:

    I don’t recall Gallagher being a lame duck candidate by the time that Frontline show came around. The opposite in fact. But either way, he was certainly gone at the mention of envelopes and faulty memory.

    Regarding the aggregator v trad print argument, I think we’re hung up on the here and now, but in a few short years that won’t matter a whit. Journal.ie is the tool of the future, as is Storyful, (but in a way that’s much more useful for other media, funnily enough). I thought this TED Talk from Markham Nolan actually put the aggregator concept in plain English for once, and it’s fairly bomb proof from where I’m sitting. Future proof too, for the foreseeable at least.

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