Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Syndication Nail in the Mainstream Coffin

This blog will now be syndicated through the American Chronicle across 21 American news sources.

It is an interesting phenomenon.

What does it mean for the future of journalism as a paid profession and the accuracy and validity of the news as the blog slowly replaces the mainstream press?

As one entertainment medium that acts as a vessel for advertisers replaces another will the line between news and advertising be completely disintegrated at last?

Is this a good or bad thing?

As advertisers begin to create their own entertainment mediums, the need for traditional vessels manufactured for commercial investment will become obsolete. Why invest in art or entertainment to sponsor with ad revenue when you already have on staff everything you need to create your own?

With the Internet, this is becoming easier and easier. Some examples of this are Channel101 and Rocket Boom where videologs (Vlogs) are replacing traditional news and TV sources.

Why? Because people are getting sick of traditional, mainstream television that is basically terrible commercial kak.

And with the heft carried by commercial advertisers with a strong investment in the religious right and the status quo (namely Wal-Mart, McDonalds and Hobby Lobby) the media will do anything in their power to keep it that way.

The viral email, personalized website, blog and vlog may have started as underground phenomenon - but they are slowly replacing the traditional means in which we seek information and see the world. And ironically enough, while the gateway and accessibility may be reckless (anyone can post) reputation becomes currency more than ever before. This is a welcome return to traditional media, before they compromised their reputation for fairness and objectivity to the acquiescence of major sponsors.

It reminds me of a conundrum faced by a television channel in the Infinite Jest written by David Foster Wallace. In the book, an advertising agency creates an ad for a migraine pain reliever that is so effective that it induces pain on all of those who witness it (the ad features self-portrait impressionistic paintings of people suffering from acute migraine pain - featuring violent images such as nails hammered into their heads and so on) the result upon viewing is so disturbing that it causes people to immediately get an intense migraine. Sales for the migraine medicine go through the roof. The migraine medicine company is now able to spend so much on advertising that they own all of the adspace on the major networks. As a result the public ceases to watch network television and the stations crumble, until people become interested in underground stations and the process repeats itself…


At 10:39 a.m., Blogger molesworth said...

"as the blog slowly replaces the mainstream press"

Hmmm. Clearly the web is replacing the printed press as a medium, but this is not the same as amateur bloggers replacing professional journalists.

Blogs are great - but are entertainment, akin to television soaps or personal diaries. They can provide interesting commentary, but are not reliable sources of news. Structurally, I doubt that will change.

Take this blog, for example. It's a great forum for views on advertising, but if you're in the advertising industry, would you really use it as your main source of information on what rivals are up to? Of course not. If you're smart, you'll continue to read the trade press, though increasingly on the web or via email, rather than as a magazine that arrives in your mailbox a week after it was sent.

Similarly, if I want to know what's going on in the elections, I read the Globe, whether on the web or in print the next day. I read political blogs too, but largely for their entertainment value.

Why? Because journalists have professional standards that mean you can trust what you read, the vast majority of the time. A blogger can write what he or she wants, regardless of whether it's true. Some even say the explosion of the internet makes the former more important, as a way of filtering through this mass of "information," half of which is untrue.


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