Good to have Ken back in town, not only for his images but also his opinions and observations. Like this one:
The death spiral of Postmedia and its newspapers is well-documented. But here’s some useful perspective from an odd source on the decline, and the rise of new media (particularly in Vancouver), and its effect on the Alberta oil industry. And some perspective from Vancouver and elsewhere.
Markham Hislop writes in the industry trade mag “Alberta Oil, the Business of Energy“. It’s almost funny, because he complains (at first) about “how the Vancouver School is distorting media coverage of the energy sector”. But there is something to be learned here, he writes.
“A cynic might argue that traditional media already do a pretty good job framing energy news to favor industry’s interests. But the B.C. experience suggests a well-organized environmental opposition coupled with alternative media trumps traditional news and advertising. If industry is looking for new strategies as it seeks approval for Energy East, it could do worse than emulate the Vancouver School.”
It is my belief than among the forces leading to the upcoming demise of Postmedia are its obvious fealty to business interests, a right-wing point of view, and continuous framing of “news” to serve these interests. Even as the audience is changing, getting hipper, and not buying the 1950’s paradigms of what’s important, who we are and how we live. But now, here are new media outlets serving this new audience, who have a fresh set of concerns, and a very different idea of who we are and what we want in our future. And you don’t have to be a cynic to get this narrative.
Here’s Linda Solomon, publisher of the Vancouver Observer, responding in an e-mail newsletter to Hislop’s article:
The sunset industries (fossil fuels and old media) are heavily invested in fading values, attacking sunrise new media companies like National Observer that embody forward-thinking values . . . .
. . . As Lawrence Martin wrote in his article entitled ‘Canada’s media: A crisis that cries out for a public inquiry’ published yesterday in The Globe and Mail, “…it’s a joke to think a healthy democracy can be restored given the continuing depletion of the one industry that holds business and government to account.”
For those who want to dig in a bit deeper, the Walrus has published THIS article by Margo Goodhand, former editor of the Edmonton Journal. It’s a chilling business and public interest perspective on the rapid downward slide at Postmedia. And a clear explanation of the danger – consolidation of the source for content, with a few exceptions:
People may not notice. How do you measure the slow gutting of a metro newspaper, the largest newsroom in town?
Court and crime and car crashes stay in the headlines because they are cheap and easy to cover. What disappears is the substantive stories that contribute to a community’s sense of self and worth; programs that require a spotlight, business and arts trends, political coverage and context.
I think that people do notice, and are turning to new sources for opinion, spotlighting and information about this new world we slowly realize will have to emerge.
Expect more from Ken on Price Tags, as he broadens the base of interests you can find here, notably media and energy which he nicely combines in this post.
And further to the post above, why can’t CBC TV help fill in the vacuum created by the decline of advertising-based media which, in the case of PostMedia, are being sucked dry for their remaining asset value by hedge funds. CBC has done well on radio, but it can’t seem to break out on TV news.
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