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Monday, December 12, 2005 1:00 PM
The Past and Future of Media
Kevin Salwen on Culture

This is a fascinating time to be in the media business -- or a consumer of it. Google is planning to get into the classified ad world, newspapers are scrambling to adapt to a Web-dominated world (here's Wash Post CEO Donald Graham's perspective), journalists are panicking to preserve the newspaper as institution (and telling us we should all be very very afraid), Clearchannel radio stations are selling their newsroom naming rights to companies, Steve Case is now among those who want to break Time Warner (the world's biggest magazine company, among many other things) into pieces.

In short, just about everybody is trying to figure out the future of the media business. What's your idea?


Kevin - 12/14/2005 12:00:10 PM
I'll sit back and watch this dialogue, which I think is a fascinating debate over the opportunity of media (and maybe its failure).

On the adv*ance question (your second comment, Gulliver), we have chosen to continue to accept comments on this blog because we love people's perspectives. But we also get waves of spam comments on it for everything from pen%is enlargement to mortg*ages to, yep, ca*sh ad*vances. So we have had to block certain words from comments that are key spam words. That's why you get that message -- and we think that (somewhat minor) annoyance is better than either a) no comments at all or b) us spending 2 hours a day cleaning up spam that clogs our site and makes it look like we endorse crappy services.

gulliver - 12/14/2005 1:21:30 AM
Quick follow on...

In that prior post, I had to edit the word 'a d v a n c e' to 'adv*nce'. (And I had to space the letters to get it accepted in this entry.)

Seems that word is rejected with the message: 'Your comment could not be submitted due to questionable content: a d v a n c e'. (Again, my letter spacing.)

Sheesh! And I thought this was a progressive arena.
gulliver - 12/14/2005 1:16:00 AM
Cathy's remark >'why are you so cynical about that shift'...

Hhhmmm... seems another case of 'fact' being received as 'negative'. I've no idea whether you're one of those who go through life with a perpetua-smile barrier against reality, and if you are, that's your affair - just don't mis-tag me.

My 'deal' is to speak plain and true... as part of which I'll clarify my remark to make it clear that 'current industry events' are no big deal - just a simple and natural cyclical realignment. Radio, tv, print, etc will still be here 'for ever' - and still largely pumping crap to the willing masses. Among it will be peripheral voices of sanity and quality.

Those 'forces' of which you speak are a misnomer - as is 'web dominated world'. Whilst the web has a large and growing influence, let's not kid ourselves that it'll majorly change the dominance of traditional media - at least not anytime soon.

Similar nonsense was said about 'Blogosphere'... and that's now settling into a groove of 'chatosphere' - populated largely by 'today I did some knitting and here's my flickr photos'.

Sadly, and entirely naturally, there's relatively little good use being made of 'the brave new e-world'... and the major benefit is largely one of 'we can chatter and shop more easily'. But when was this ever different? How well do we as a society ever use an adv*nce? Consider the great things we could have done with automobiles/telephone/regular mail... real 'opportunities' which have subsequently largely become market-oriented junk.

So then, 'cynical'. Perhaps. 'Realistic'? Sure.

cathy johnstone - 12/13/2005 4:39:57 PM
Wow, and I thought I was cynical. Gulliver, clearly you need a little happiness and sunshine in your life. :-))

In all seriousness, I think Kevin was talking about how the big media needs to change, and change is a fascinating thing. The newspaper industry has been with us for several centuries, the radio industry for nearly a century, the TV industry for several decades. The fact that those mega-industries have to now deal with the most disruptive force they've encountered is interesting to me. Why are you so cynical about that shift?

P.S. I know a lot of journalists (disclaimer: I used to be one), and they are among the most passionate people I know. I don't know where you live, but maybe that's different there.

gulliver - 12/13/2005 11:20:21 AM
In no way wishing to be unreasonable, just how IS 'this a fascinating time to be in the media business - or a consumer of it'? Somebody please explain what seems to me to be a fatuous remark.

Media - whether it be print or electronic - is largely f*cked. Deservedly so. For too long it's put quantity before quality and foisted lackluster crap on an increasingly less-discerning audience dumbed-down by the diet of homogenised pap about as exciting as grass. With bored writers serving a bored audience there's little fresh - and almost nought with real fire. Lacking any defining edge, it all swills around together.

Clearly this'll continue awhile yet, as more old content is repackaged - then it'll fold in on itself... as a result of which we'll have less-and-better.


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