For much of the twentieth century, society was concerned with doing things faster. Fast food outlets, microwave ovens to heat things quickly, instant meals. More recently, there has been a greater emphasis on slow cooking. Taking one’s time, “striving to preserve traditional and regional elements of the cuisine”.
Similarly, the media has been concerned with getting the scoop, being first with the news, and this has led to inaccuracies such as the photo of the wrong two people being identified as suspects in the Boston bombings. Slogans like “We’re first with the news” or similar are common, and even the word itself – “news” – suggests something up to the minute. News is still trying to be fast food, when it should be attempting slow cooking.
If that doesn’t make sense to you, that’s ok – I don’t think Rupert or the News Media have got it either. On nearly any story, Facebook, Twitter or whatever becomes the trendy social media of the day will out-scoop the MSM. Photos of the event or disaster will be whizzing around the world before they hit the desks of professional journalists. If Murdoch wants to keep his papers viable behind a pay wall, then he needs to start being concerned about accuracy rather than speed. Newspapers need to be able to say “We are the authoritative voice here, we haven’t rushed to print, we’ve checked the facts, followed up the sources, this is not the rumour, this appears to be the REAL situation”. An unnamed source who told someone something off the record is not “news”. A report on Twitter that a Hollywood star has died is not worth reporting unless it is verified.
If newspapers can start to do this, then they have a future. If not, we may as well get ours news straight from Facebook or that site that assures that “fracking” is safe. Why pay for rumours, when we can just as easily read them for free?
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