Published Date 5/29/11 4:05 PM
The de-professionalising of media
Digitisation is re-shaping many forms of media production and news is one of these. The business model the print press was based on scarcity and physical distribution. Old media is being forced to transform under the technological imperative of digitisation, and most will fail. From the forced change of digitisation there are two possible outcomes:
1. A continuation of the move to churning PR as news, which is the growth/sustainable area in traditional media.
2. The de-professionalising of media production. This is a huge growth area in media production over the last 10 years.
Professional non-PR media is under attack by the search for profit by companies that have the will to survive. The ones that don’t join this savage chase to the bottom will likely not survive in their current forms.
What do I mean by de-professionalizing?
In the Victorian era the “amateur” was held in high esteem and the “professional” was looked down upon. This was based on values coming from a leisured elite of society, the logic of valuing a gift economy over the narrowly commercial. In contemporary society the digitisation project is shifting much old commercial (scarcity) work into leisure (gift) work. Witness the rise of the blogger, the age of wikipedia etc.
At this point I just have to make a quick detour to demolish the mirage of fragile hope that many of the old “professional classes” cling to. Advertising is FALSE information, and social media sees through it – the world of the “free” makes its intrusions more obvious – and people will ignore these images, use adblockers etc. The poison that is embedded in lifestyle advertising will move into PR-driven news production.
The outcome of this transition is not at all clear. At the recent E-G8 conference, Lawrence Lessig talked about the problem of incumbents or gatekeepers and how they distort investments and push to keep obsolete models in place. They are helping to distort and misshape the logic of the digitalization process.
To finish this work in progress
Critique Victorian “amateurism”
Talk about how the will still be a (smaller) role for “professorial journalists”
Fill out the Background on these ideas..