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I think you're right, journalists do use flattery to set people up. But they have, in the past, pursued such stories only if a) they don't upset their advertisers and b) if they don't test the loyalty of a major part of their audience. (B is a product sold to A)

However the last 2 years have seen major problems arise for both the print and broadcast industries. Newspapers have seen year on year declines of up to 10% in circulation and this can be seen in demise of the Finnish newsprint mills. Mainstream TV channels have seen a similar dissipation of their audiences and falls in ad revenue.

They've come up with 3 solutions: go downmarket, get interactive or put up firewalls/monetize some content. Or all three. One and Three are not going to work for the mainstream media: catering to pond life is a dead end street, and, as we are all aware, hiding content that was previously available for free only works if you have a monopoly on the content.

Solution number 2 leads to the 'setting them up for a fall' method which you point out. The online versions of the msm think that by polarizing their audiences in setting up celebrity and shooting it down, they will create a lively debate among different sections of their audience. What they get is acres and acres of uninformed and tiresome ranting = another dead end street.

It's all about celebrity today: politicians, CEOs, and heads of state have joined the traditional celebs. It is a weird and unprecedented mass obsession. I really don't know where it will lead, but it won't be a good place.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Sep 26th, 2010 at 07:29:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Personally I think that audiences are falling because their content is inane and repetitive. They've floowed the "We inform, you decide" path to such an extent, without ever recognising their role as editor, that people assume that there is a middle path, a bipartizan solution you might, to be taken on any subject. Especially where this very arena of television favours the loudest and most foolish.

People forget that the fall in sales did not preceed the massive job losses in editorial journalism, it followed it. The job losses were brought about by financial management that required 30% return on investment per annum. Then we ended up in the msm death spiral as dumb content failed to attract readers and so needed ever greater cuts to keep the profits up.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Sep 26th, 2010 at 07:58:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The msm death spiral reminds me of the garrotting of another public amenity -- public transit.

It "has to pay for itself" (i.e. be made profitable for some rentier somewhere) so jack the prices up and reduce the service... which reduces ridership... which reduces revenues... so jack the prices up some more... rinse, repeat until the patient dies.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Sun Sep 26th, 2010 at 11:14:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ben there
The job losses were brought about by financial management that required 30% return on investment per annum.

done that.

For all the good it did, there were a lot of us, in various newsrooms at the time, yelling and hollering that This. Will. Not. End. Well. But as someone said, your voice is guaranteed being heard only if you own the printing press.

by Mnemosyne on Sun Sep 26th, 2010 at 03:34:41 PM EST
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Oops. "Been." Proofreading is my friend.
by Mnemosyne on Sun Sep 26th, 2010 at 03:35:33 PM EST
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I should add that not all TV paid content  systems fail. Time Warner's HBO, the grouping of 24/7 pay-tv channels and video-on-demand services, makes over a billion dollars a year profit.

This has largely been achieved by going 'upmarket' and making decently budgeted drama series.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Sep 26th, 2010 at 11:12:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who Could Have Predicted?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 27th, 2010 at 05:58:14 AM EST
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Sven Triloqvist:
It's all about celebrity today: politicians, CEOs, and heads of state have joined the traditional celebs. It is a weird and unprecedented mass obsession. I really don't know where it will lead, but it won't be a good place.
Give us a diary...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 27th, 2010 at 09:35:15 AM EST
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I was thinking about it. Me ducks are not yet in a row. But I might be able to put together a lead-in to a discussion. OK?


You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Sep 27th, 2010 at 11:12:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK OK OK. Seriously.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Sep 27th, 2010 at 12:18:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I never ask for more but I always get it :P

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 27th, 2010 at 12:22:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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