The universe of modern media has been knocked off course, perhaps even blown to pieces. The order of the media universe has been disrupted a few times by technology. The printing press, radio, and television, and then cable television revolutionized means of communication. The common denominator that has not changed is in top down construction – preserving the consistency of the media message. The planets of print, audio, and video revolved nicely around structured order. The internet is like a rogue planet that does not revolve around a central point.
The Big Bang was heralded by the media cousins as an innovative game for the youth. A Centralized solar system of information remained the focus of ‘professional’ journalism. The evolution of the media planets developed rules and ethics – a system that could be used to measure excellence – and thus success. Those journalists could sip their lattes and discuss how information was to be disseminated.
Print journalism is the granddaddy – stoically analyzing and structuring the presentation of information. Print stories had to pass the muster of the ‘Editor.’ Weekly news magazines gave thoughtful in-depth analysis. Newspapers were used in education. When radio and Television entered the journalism solar system they continued the professional critique. News programs were scripted – and the major networks continue to script. This is a necessity of fitting the news into a time slot as much as seeking editorial sanction. Twenty-four hour cable news channels began to fray the edges of professionalism – their reporting task was immediate – there was no time to evaluate world events – they had to get on the air. But the Cable News channels have producers, editors monitoring content on the fly, ready to pull the plug or shift to another camera and another journalist.
The introduction of the internet was seen as an opportunity by the media to reach into peoples homes with another medium. Combining print, audio, and video the multi-media opportunities were relished by corporate big wigs as a gifted child to be managed.
They failed to recognize the step child sitting in the corner. The step child brought a small bomb into the house of Murdock.
The fundamental difference between the internet and all other forms of media lies in the interactive nature. The consumers of information became reporters and analysts, and did not give up their editorial privilege. It began with email, then individual web pages, and has evolved into something termed the blogosphere. People who blog are like errant asteroids flying around the solar system – randomly striking the established planetary bodies of established coorporate media.
We find ourselves writing in real time. The cable news networks provides live telecasts of political events and speeches. We watch while sitting at our keyboard – frantically typing – trying to capture direct quotes and adding analysis. There is no time for editorial review. We shoot from the hip and are developing accuracy with each bang.
The dust is flying. New planets are being formed. The gravity of sanity will eventually settle the issue. Common sense and sanity always prevail in the long term. We do not know what the new planets will look like; we don’t know what life the atmosphere will support; we don’t know how big the planets will be – but the bigger they get the more gravitational pull they will have and the more asteroids they will attract.
The internet is reshaping the media solar system.