2 August 2005

The Coming Fall of the Mass Media?

A few days ago (in an entry last month), I had mentioned "Bhelpuri" news--a do-it-yourself approach in which news will become more tailored to the viewer, thanks to new technologies. CBS is already on it.
Now, a company called Current TV, launchd by former U.S. president Al Gore, is taking the media to the next level, where amateur broadcasts will get prominence. Here is a story for details.

And here is the site http://www.current.tv

What does all this mean?
Precisely that the coming of blogs, podcasts, amateur videos and cheaper digital technologies are giving a chaotic mix of opportunities and threats to the media industry. If you look at the ads thrown up above entries like this, you begin to see the possibilities. Advertisers and publishers have their challenges coming up, and nobody is going to have an easy time.
For journalists, this is a moment of truth: Accept, if you have not already, that this is the decline, if not fall, of the age of the mass media. You may be a niche celebrity but your neighbour may not recognise you. Your opinion or news may be excellent, but it may not carry with the ease with which it did in the good old 20th century. On the other hand, I expect a new system of intermediaries to emerge and alter the landscape. And that could mean a new form of mass media.
The rules are changing, but the basic game is the same: Human beings want to communicate with each other!

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