10 Feb 2003 guerby   » (Master)

A few notes on media things:

Artificial scarcity
TV is a very low information bitrate media, and highly controlled. That's funny because the most controversial reports sometimes do not appear on TV, even in France we had a few of those going out on movie theaters to avoid TV censorship. Printed newspaper are very expensive to produce ($/bit), and since it's mostly crap nobody buy them anymore, so it reflects the views of those who pay for advertisement. Nobody wants to be an online subscriber for the same reason, why pay for crap? The net result is that journalists can sincerely say that they have no room for your story, which is true, but of course no "why is it so".
Copy/paste from the same source
If you have access to financial news service (I do since I work in a trading room), you'll notice that a huge percentage of so called articles are just slightly modified copy/paste of the financial news. If you follow Google News you'll find out that a lot of articles have exactly the same structure with minimal changes like some student copying homework and trying not to get caught. The reason is the same as above, no money, no time to write articles. I did find out by discussing with friends a few weeks ago how incredibly low the pay is per article for freelancer in France. Flipping burgers pays more.
Social things
I've read a few documents on how journalists in the US (and elsewhere) migrated from being close to the blue collars to being close to the white collars, hence the shift in focus and tone. Serge Halimi (journalist at Le Monde Diplomatique) published a pamphlet a few years ago entitled "The New Watchdogs" ("Les nouveaux chiens de garde") talking about mainstream medias, the title gives a taste of it, ISBN 2-912107-01-6.
Media Self Criticizing
Brings no money in, forget about it.

I'm currently subscribed to only one printed newspaper which is Le Monde Diplomatique. It's thirty two pages of deep and well written papers once a month, sometimes by high profile american activists and professors, honestly that's enough reading for a month IMHO. When I need more, I just google around. The last two monthes are online, I believe there's an english edition (I can find you the reference if you're interested).

Went to see the movie "Last Party 2000" last week, wow. All put together, at some point, it's not unbelievable that we'll see American people fleeing back to Europe seeking freedom, world peace, trying to avoid persecution and general madness, it could be quite an interesting bit of history in reverse. Of course we have to preserve "Old Europe" from all this madness and this without doubt will be quite a challenge.

Hey raph you said you wanted some discussions, let's spark some with a flamethrower :).

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