I enjoy reading about the media industry, both in the trade press as well as articles in mainstream publications. Whilst I work in the radio industry I think it’s important to know what’s happening in press, TV, online and other media sectors too. The world’s media is converging and it’s impossible for anything to exist in isolation. Which is why I find most of the media sections in the newspapers completely bewildering.
It isn’t surprising that print’s response to the multi-media world is somewhat anachronistic, all you have to do is look at how it deals with other sectors in its industry. A little challenge for you this week. Just take a look at the media sections of the dailies, any will do, and count up the percentage of stories (or column inches) that concern newspapers (or news media). I’ll happily wager that most of them will happily rant on about their fellow hacks ad-nauseum for the majority of their section.
I think what it belies is a total misunderstanding of its audience and a self-obsession that’s frankly embarrassing. Why would any great number of regular readers of any title have an obsessive interest in what goes on in the papers that they never get? In addition why are the comings and goings at The Spectator (circulation: 75,000) of interest to anyone other than media-commentators or politicians. It wouldn’t be so bad if these acres of newsprint wasn’t at the expense of other stories, but of course it is.
Now I’m not saying that ‘the press’ doesn’t warrant any stories, but the sheer volume of them are embarrassing. If they want to write about their mates they should at least be honest about it and brand the sections ‘Journalism’ or ‘Newspapers’, but pretending they’re media sections is just wrong.
MediaGuardian (print version on Monday) is probably the least worst offender as they know they’ve got to encourage regular cross-industry readers to their website. Surely it’s not beyond the collective knowledge of the other editors that if they cover a broad selection of other stories they’re likely to bring in more new readers. Trying to drive circulation by printing a load of print stories is hardly going to be successful when all newspaper journalists get free copies of other papers in their offices.