October 22, 2008
Over the past weekend I was at a conference hosted by the University of Bedfordshire in Luton. The conference, of mainly journalism academics, was provocatively titled ‘The end of journalism?’ It turns out that the conference organisers were having a bit of fun with us.
Like all good journos (and former journos), they could not resist the punning headline. The ambiguity was at first lost on me. I assumed we were talking about the end of (as in the finish of), but Alec Charles and Gavin Stewart also had in mind the end of (as in the purpose of) journalism.
In this sense, they argued, bloggers and internet reporters could be seen as continuing a forceful and individualist culture of anti-authoritariansim that has motivated some of the best reportage for centuries.
So if we are not witnessing the end of journalism, at least we can be around for the birth (perhaps) of something new, but that also celebrates and continues the tradition of journalism into the digital age.
The problem with a conference like this (in fact almost all academic conferences) is that as a participant-observer, you only ever get to see and hear half of it. Parallel sessions allow the organisers to cram in more great papers, but audiences are then left with some difficult choices.
News workers are also today facing difficult choices. The most difficult is whether to embrace or resist the intrusion of digital technologies into the news production process. Is it true, as I once read somewhere, ‘Resistance is futile‘
Read the rest of this entry »
September 1, 2008
[Note: updated 7 September]
An interesting piece on Jafa Pete’s blog about the rights of journalists when it comes to trade unions. Particularly if their union, like the EPMU in New Zealand, campaigns on behalf of a particular political party during elections. [The freedom to belong]
The question is about union membership affecting the ability of reporters to be fair and balanced. Alternatively you could pose this as: Are journalists compromised by their membership of a union that aligns itself to a political party?
As you can imagine [dribblejaws alert] I don’t think it really matters. In fact, I’d go a step further and say that journalists natural class alignment is with the workers. Even more, journalism would be better if reporters recognised this basic class instinct and acted on it at all times.
My argument’s a simple one, journalists are proletarians. They have a typically proletarian relationship to capital and to capitalism. The ideology of professionalism masks this and creates all sorts of confusion.
Read the rest of this entry »
May 11, 2007
I don’t want to be a Cassandra, and I certainly don’t want you all to think that I’m boosting for the Wall Street Journal (Murdoch can have it!). But two interesting articles that I’ve linked to here.
Both are about huge media and entertainment mulitnationals who’ve recently lost money on their entertainment, news and internet investments. I want to come back to this, but for now, these stories make interesting reading.
Viacom profits fall 36%
Warner Music posts net loss