Friday, July 13, 2007

It's not the Exorcist or the Ring, but it can scare the hell out of you as well

Yes, this has been a stale blog. But now that I am done analyzing the news media coverage of the elections (except for the coverage analysis of the elections day itself which is definitely way lighter than the analysis of the three-month campaign), I think I can breathe for now. Thus, this new post (finally).

But oh, in case I falter in updating this blog (again), I invite you to visit our Freedom Watch blog, which we hope is going to be updated on a fairly regular basis sometime soon. We in the office are really excited on the plans we have for the official blog of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR). Can't tell you the full details yet, but some things are for sure: the writers will be given a chance to post in the blog, and that the blog is going to be interesting, relevant, and exciting. So please, please, make it a regular habit to visit Freedom Watch.

I have been wanting to post this video ever since I read about it in Robert Kuttner's piece in the March-April 2007 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review. Mentioning the film EPIC 2014 (which now has an updated version entitled EPIC 2015) in his piece, Kuttner talks about the dire future of the newspapers. "By the usual indicators, daily newspapers are in a deepening downward spiral," Kuttner writes in "The Race." "The new year brought reports of more newsroom layoffs, dwindling print circulation, flat or declining ad sales, increasing defections of readers and advertisers to the Internet, and sullen investors."

"The dire future predicted by the now-classic video, EPIC 2014, in which Google, Amazon, and an army of amateurs eventually drive out even The New York Times, begins to feel like a real risk," Kuttner writes.

Here's EPIC 2015 below. Watching this movie gives you little shivers, don't you think? It's as if you're watching a short horror film intended for journalists. Creepy.

For more about film, click here and here. The film's creators explain the origins of the movie here. Wikipedia entry here.

With more and more reports about newsroom layoffs, decreasing advertising and circulation sales, and the rise of Internet and bloggers as a primary source of news and information, should the press -- and the public which it serves -- indeed fear this dark prediction of the future of newspapers? Will the end of the newspapers also signal drastic changes in the role press plays in our society, and the journalistic principles -- accuracy, objectivity, fairness, balance, context, among others -- it dearly hold?

Kuttner ends his piece with a more encouraging note. It's a contest that newspapers might win, he pointed out. How? One way is for newspapers to to make the transition to the "promised land" (Kuttner's words) of hybrid print-Web publishing. "Newspapers have started down a financially and journalistically viable path of becoming hybrids," he writes, "without losing the professional culture that makes them uniquely valuable," adding that "whether newspapers are print or Web matters far less than whether they maintain their historic calling."

Read Kuttner's piece here. I have read a number of news articles and in-depth pieces about this issue, but I think this one takes the cake for its comprehensive and well-researched analysis.


tintin said...

kung ganon let's save it by being more relevant. im sure there's something we journalists can offer that "THEY" (parang "The Others") can't.

papag-isipan ko pa sir kung ano yun. pero meron yan. :)

I'd like to believe that as long as people man the medium, there will still be people who will patronize the medium. Print will find a way to survive. just like truth. cheka!

hi sir!! :)

bryant said...

hahaha! parang "The Others" talaga. haha.

CJR has an extremely well-written and comprehensive take on the issue, tin, Medyo mahaba lang talaga, pero really, a good read on this issue.


dana said...

what about countries that aren't as Internet-developed? I mean, ours in particular has some areas only accessible by radio. It's possible that in countries like ours, only "the elite" or the Internet-savvy (which, truth be told, excludes more than half the population) will eschew print media in favor of blogs.

Also, I agree with Tin in that people will always turn to the print medium, or at least established media to verify such things. It's like that debate on books versus Internet sources--the academe would still much prefer published, musty books as resources, since those at least have gone through the editing process.

As for the business side of things, well, wala talaga akong masabi dun. hahaha.


bryant said...

thanks dana for the comment.

you're quite right in your points. quite a few in fact have raised the fact that because we are yet that advanced when it comes to internet connectivity, many of the fears raised in the press circles in more developed nations, like in the United States, over the possible demise of newspapers, will at least not hold true for now in the country.

and yes, i agree with you that the public will still rely on the press for the accuracy or veracity of the news and information it gets. and as the CJR article said, maintaining the old journalistic qualities and adopting to the new world of hybrid print-web model of newspapers may be the way for the print medium to exist still and maintain its relevance.

but be that is it may, these are indeed interesting times, especially on the media front. while it may be true that such changes may prove to be slower in our case, but the popularity of free commuter newspaper inquirer libre, the rising use of Filipinos of the Internet (which you correctly pointed out that it is still relatively low compared with other countries), among others, do indicate some things we should be thinking about.

Is this the time to worry? And should worrying be the right way of approaching these changes? I guess we can ponder on these things a little more.

dana said...

actually, may mas maraming stats ako tungkol sa internet usage. trend story ko kasi yung youtube kay ma'am chua. :D

bryant said...

really? share share! :D

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