Post 63:08 YouTube vs. the package

Four interesting perspectives on media today. One came from Laurel Papworth, via The Australian’s Mark Day and

I read Phil Gomes’ post about this OpEd from the SMH’s Paul Sheehan today with considerable interest.

The Mark Day piece describes how most news requires little effort for publishers to produce, but is of little value to readers. Day goes on to argue that publishers should instead pursue the news that is hardest to produce, as this has the highest value to readers and to society.

The Sheehan piece lauds social media as a more immediate and revealing source of news than MSM, which is tainted and biased.

There are problems with both articles. Sheehan, I feel, misses the point that most media consumers simply do not have the time to spend three hours searching YouTube for material that helps them to form an opinion. Sheehan did so for Sarah Palin. I didn’t, because like most people I know I simply did not have the time to do so. We’re not columnists or news wonks, so we are not paid to spend big slabs of time chasing up the sources. Either that or we are getting our kids to bed and hoping the second half of the 7:30 report explains something about the day’s events (and doesn’t waste time on a story about the racing industry, but that’s another story). Long story short, I and MANY people I know just don’t have time for the minutiae.

I turn, instead, to mainstream media for a packaged analysis I know to be flawed (objectivity is very hard to attain) but is at least well-intentioned in its efforts to inform and is easily digestable in the time available. This is where I have trouble with Day’s piece as well, because while high value news is important, the sheer volume of media and pace of change means that perspective is as valuable to many people as knowledge.

Sure, that perspective is often flawed. But for me, turning to media whose biases you share or understand is part of the fun of being a media consumer. Doing so consciously is also, I feel, an important act of self-filtering that raises the value of content a media outlet presents to you. And isn’t respecting that self-filtering, and one’s own voice and judgement, a “2.0 act”? Or should we all ignore our own opinions and the tools at our disposal and wait for MSM to deliver “quality” from on high?

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