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Deciding What is News: Channels of Discourse-Signification, Representation and Ideology: Viral Media Streaming Ecology

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“Social media is a new way to communicate, report and share information amongst friends, family, and colleagues online, as well as meeting people with similar i

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TV Production Studio and news selection Process

TV Production Studio and news selection Process

News TV network that has news sets for anchors with TV Cameras and boom mics on trollies, offices and desks, waiting rooms and meeting rooms, production and director's tech rooms

News TV network that has news sets for anchors with TV Cameras and boom mics on trollies, offices and desks, waiting rooms and meeting rooms, production and director's tech rooms

VBS.TV online television network streaming 24 hour original documentaries, mixes of pop and underground culture, humanitarian issues, music, movies, travel nd international news

VBS.TV online television network streaming 24 hour original documentaries, mixes of pop and underground culture, humanitarian issues, music, movies, travel nd international news

Google News Timeline: you can view news from archives, blog posts,magazine, scanned newspapers, sports, music, movies. You can view multiple sources concurrently. Easy to follow news an gather information related to relevant source

Google News Timeline: you can view news from archives, blog posts,magazine, scanned newspapers, sports, music, movies. You can view multiple sources concurrently. Easy to follow news an gather information related to relevant source

CNN's full screen of state-of the art technology displaying multiple screen for new coverage

CNN's full screen of state-of the art technology displaying multiple screen for new coverage

CNN introduces holographic reporting in the new age of reporting 21st century contemporary news

CNN introduces holographic reporting in the new age of reporting 21st century contemporary news

New emerging media for news and information emerging globally

New emerging media for news and information emerging globally

Technology that permits and encourages horizontal editing. Internet technology allows media to quickly correct their mistakes, but they do nothing to address a critical issue - the erosion of trust in the accuracy of the news

Technology that permits and encourages horizontal editing. Internet technology allows media to quickly correct their mistakes, but they do nothing to address a critical issue - the erosion of trust in the accuracy of the news

News on the Internet and the Extension of Reportage

The Background on the Need to Communicate

The history of news gathering and dissemination goes back to the times of 'exploration' and 'colonization' of known and unknown peoples and lands. The explorers sent back their news to the 'mother country' for a motley crew of readers and would-be investors. The decision as to what's news and what's not news took shape in different stages of news reportage and dissemination from the beginning of journalism. This was the beginning of the spin doctrine that is so common place today. Which means that the news were designed to sparked public interest and following, and the actual distorting and exaggerating of the news event being reported. In those days, reporters were all sorts of men with different interests and pursuits. The same nations which controlled physical transportation, one way in which Imperial powers fought for more acquisitions of land and trading systems, were the ones that first constructed the first news networks that to sell information to the world's newspapers The system of transportation through shipping and information gathering and selling were important in helping define what is news and helped pattern the relationships between colonizer and colonized. These agencies built their news route and branch offices in the colonial world when they 'opened it up'. This enabled them to collect their own intelligence and demand on Commercial information peaked, on stocks, currencies, commodities, harvests and extractive processes. In Europe, they used pigeon and horses to join various cable system, for instance, cable was laid down to improve and provide for faster and quickest flow of intelligence and information around central Europe. This widespread growth in communications technology extended the frontiers of knowledge and transformed the environment in which we live. The application of the communications process varies from country to country. The old international information order meant that that the powers of disseminating information was a domestic matter and the media in developing nations was left to function in a non-governmental, autonomous sphere. UNESCO noted that the media of the richer nations was a way in which the domination of world public opinion or a source of moral and cultural pollution. Culture and how it is organized influences the way a country handles its messages and the content.

The growth of political ideology and hardening of attitudes, led to the confrontation between East and West and the political independence of countries formerly subjugated by colonial rule. Also, the goodwill to remedy and redress these wrongs, was tempered by a liberal dosage of national self-interest. In the process, news and wire services were now placed on the computer in digital form, and this facilitated communication with other sources of information and distribution. Dependence on information, which has created a social hierarchy, got broken down and people now find themselves exposed to TV information channels. This new technology has also permanently altered social relations, and it opened wider national debate. The conflict between newly independent countries and their rulers is not only about the plight of the past, but It has to do with the reality of the present and the concerns of the day as reflected in the news. Race has been an ever present state of affairs.

Packaging News in the Age of Technology

The news program is structured like a newspaper. The day's most important story is the lead, and the first two sections are generally devoted to the other important hard news of the day. Most of these stories are domestic news, usually about political or economic happenings, much of it originating from Washington. Features, which take up the remain sections, are more often on topics of social importance or interest, such as health; and television journalists like to end the program with an amusing human interest anecdote, of the 'man bites the dog' genre.

There are people , or actors who populate the news and activities that become newsworthy. Journalists say the the news ought to be about individuals than groups or social processes; and by and large, they achieve their aim. Most news is about individuals, although they may be in conflict with groups or impersonal forces such as "inflation" and "communism, or something like that. National news is by definition about the nation, and so the most frequent actors in the new are inevitably individuals who play a role in national activities(e.g., Tiger Woods, etc.) They could be well-known people, ordinary people prototypical of the groups or aggregates that make up the nation. The Knowns, furthermore, could be political, economic, social, or cultural figures; they could also be holders of official positions or powers behind thrones who play official roles. Knowns are a combination of people. Some are assumed by journalists to familiar names among the audience; others have appeared frequently in the news and are therefore well-known to the journalists. some are not necessarily known by name but occupy well-known positions, like governor of a large state or mayor of a troubled city.(Gans)

The news has dealt with race because of the primary social division in the news has been racial, although this was largely a consequence of racial flare-ups in the 1960s and 1970s. Racial news featuring whites reflected a dichotomy with public officials and upper middle class citizens who sought to advance racial integration and less affluent whites who demonstrated against it being deemed most noteworthy. the news also paid attention to racial differences, but did not often deal with income differences among people, or even with people as earners of income. Some of the news dealt with stories about the successful entry of women into previously all-male occupations and institutions. Ideology was deemed significant in communist nations and among parties and adherents of the Left and Right, both overseas and domestically. Although the news distinguishes between conservative, liberal and moderate politicians and party wings, these are perceived as shades of opinion; and being flexible, they are not considered ideologies. The news were decided based on race, sex, ideology class and age. these still are what makes or is decided as news.

The recent introductions and improvements along with development of the technology of reporting, for example, shorthand, telegraphy, photography, microphones, satellites, cell phones, lap-tops, twittering, Internet, emailing Youtube, video-casting and so on, these have increased rather than simplify the theoretical problems of objectivity in the news. News has acquired a new and powerful authority from the size and scope of the new and increasingly vast contemporary audience, that the business of governments has long focuses on, and is now focused on issues which journalism selects for salience and priority. Every step that has been taken towards enlightenment involves carrying the burden of misconceptions and past conceptions of observing civilizations. All the explorers and today's reporters works alone, because he brings with him a baggage and totality of the past observing which has become part of his culture and his conceptual apparatus.

Information is also closely related to economic hegemony and the extension of power and influence; and those countries, which have ample means of communication, use information as a means to further national, economic and political objectives. This power, then in TV news, is harnessed in such a way that it holds us hostage to the channel we are watching. A tease or commercial is used to keep the viewer watching the news. During the news program, the tease does not stop there, because what is known as 'bumpers' and 'teases' are used to keep one watching through use of 'promises of exclusive stories' and 'tape', 'good looking anchors', 'helicopters', 'team coverage', 'hidden cameras' and better journalism. And when the news is finished, you are pleaded with 'do not touch that dial'. Whether you know it or not, we are programmed to watch news by programmers. Even with a remote in ones hand, we are likely to stay tuned to the channel we have been watching. This is why the best news program may not have ratings as high as a news program with strong lead-in.

In the 1990s a corporate control of the media created a lot of concern. Then came the notion that the internet or digital communications will set us free. This is hardly unprecedented because every major new electronic media technology this century, from film, AM radio, Shortwave radio, FM radio, facsimile broadcasting, terrestrial television broadcasting, Cable TV and satellite broadcasting, has spawned similar utopian notions. Viewers and listeners were told how these new technologies would crush the existing monopolies over media, culture and knowledge and open way for a more egalitarian and just social order.

In 1998, the CEO of Cisco Systems even went further to say that the Internet will have the same impact as the Industrial revolution had, but instead of that happening in 100 years, it will happen in seven years. Writers from Nicholas Negroponte and Douglas Rushkoff to George Gilder and old Newt Gingrich informed us that we are entering a period of fundamental social change like we have never seen before. But the claim for what the Internet will do to media and communications are no less sweeping. Negroponte went as far as to say that the Internet will be the most enabling technology of all media-TV,Radio, newspapers, magazines and so on. The Internet, it is claimed, had the potential to undermine corporate and commercial control of the media. Perry Barlow neatly observed this by dismissing concerns about media mergers and concentration by saying that the big media firms are 'merely rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic'. But the commercial system has merely donned a new set of clothes, the internet is run by Big commercial firms and the content subject their whims and profit. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Converging Divergence and the New Spin

Most media analysts from Marshal McLuhan to Noam Chomsky, have shown, television and print news cater to the corporate and political entities who created them, and make sure they keep them in business. But even if the original intentions of the media were to manipulate the American psyche by deadening our senses and winning over our hearts and minds to prepackaged ideologies, this strategy has by now back fired. The sense or signification carried out by the bosses of the media is that they will continue to control content in order to decide what is worthy of representation, and profits. But the use of the media during the recent Presidential election deconstructed those ideas thoroughly.

Human Rights, Executives and Profits

Television and the newsmagazines diverge, however, in their treatment of the middle class population, for the individuals who appear in the newsmagazines are more often of the upper-middle class, while those on television are frequently of the lower middle class. Most news is about affluent people, almost by definition, since the main actors in the news are public officials. Public officials are distinguished by their geographical, racial, ethnic and religious background more often than by their economic background. Generally speaking, then, the national news features middle-class and upper middle class blacks who have 'overcome' racial, economic and especially political obstacles, with the less affluent black more often newsworthy as protesters, criminals and victims. Racial news featuring whites reflects similar dichotomy, with public officials and upper middle class projected as citizens who seek to advance racial integration getting more coverage and less affluent whites, who demonstrate against it being not most newsworthy, but slightly covered nonetheless.

If one, then, were to use the same say of looking and knowing about how news become disseminated through TV and other news outlets, the very same pattern emerges. Those who want to improve and promote the well-being of all Americans are shown in a positive light, and those opposed to the general health and welfare of poor Americans, given newsworthiness because of the opposition and violence they engender. Because the news is dominated by stories about conflict(Racism, Health Care, Abortion, Gun Rights, Immigration, etc), and because of its concern with unity and consensus, or lack thereof, the overall picture is of a conflicted nation and society. But, is that a true picture in contemporary US?

Old news, New technologies

Many other such complexes exist, some of long standing. Often the subject of magazine cover stories and television documentaries, also serves as leads to more routine news stories, with actors, activities or statistics becoming newsworthy by virtue of their shedding some light on the condition of one or another complex. The networks have always been largely concerned about making money, but at an earlier time they felt obligated to operate first class news departments. Technical demands of television are complex and unrelenting that everyone concerned is preoccupied with getting matters right, and frequently, it is a case of techniques triumphing over substance. TV executives are very sensitive to public criticism, and their principal consideration in responding to public criticism is profit and loss. The news director who manages to arrange public matters so that public criticism is kept to a minimum, and profits remain high, rarely get fired. News and pseudo news shows, fixates peoples attention on what is peripheral to an understanding of their lives, and may even disable them from distinguishing what is relevant from what is not.

The viewer must come with a prepared mind that has information, opinions, and a sense of proportion and articulate value system. The TV viewer or news listener lacking such mental preparedness, to them, a news program is only a kind of rousing light show. Here a falling building, there a fire-alarm fire, everywhere the world becomes an object, without meaning, connections or continuity. News gathering and dissemination has not changed very much. The motive still remains manipulation, selection, signification, representation, ideology and profit. This maxim remains true of all old, new and emerging media, that with techniques and converging technologies, the media is not the message, but profits and control of men's attitudes and behaviors is the norm.

Approximately 99 percent of Americans own televisions, 70 percent of whom subscribe to cable; 100 percent own radios; an 77 percent subscribe to newspaper. Inmost homes, the television set is on at least seven hours per day, though studies find children watch about eight hours a ay. Americans listen to the radio 2.5 hours a day and spend 45 minutes reading their daily newspaper. In addition, American receive most of their news from television and often believe what they see and hear on the news.(Douglas Kelner) African Americans watch and listen to more broadcast media than these averages. for example, African Americans spend more than 70 hours a week watching television - 20-35 percent more than whites(reston, 1994)

The power of the media is profound. It sets agendas, interprets meaning, confers status, and in its worst case, endorses destructive behavior. It's most powerful impact is on children, who frame definitions of and draw conclusions about the world through the messages they receive. Studies conducted in the 1990s show that children across all races associate positive characteristics with the minority characters. Although children believe that all races are shown doing both good and bad things on the news, they agree that the news media tend to portray both African American and Latino people more negatively than White or Asian individuals. African American children feel that entertainment media represent their race more fairly than the news media (47 percent to 25 percent). Asian children feel the opposite, favoring the news media (36 percent to 28 percent), while White and Latino children are split between the two. All ages and races expressed faith that the media could help bring people together by showing individuals of varying races interacting together.(Children Now, 1998))

Yet, as a capitalist enterprise, the main purpose of the Eurocentric media - media created by and reflecting the worldview of people of European descent - is to create and maintain consumers of all age. And the Eurocentric media is experiencing steady growth and rapid consolidation. The top media corporation that have "dominant" power over American culture have shrunk to only ten.(Ben Bagdikian) Although one of the, AOL Time Warner, is now headed by Richard Parsons, a Black man, the top echelon is almost completely White. Not surprisingly, the product - whether packaged in magazines of television shows - is orientated toward a white audience. Meanwhile, the Afrocentric media - media created by and reflecting the worldview of people of African descent - is generally struggling to keep afloat.

News Media Are Targeted But Audiences Are Not

A Contemporary View On Multiperspective Journalism

As I have stated above, the power of the media is profound. It sets agendas, interprets meaning, confers status, and in its worst case, endorses destructive behavior. We learn from Herbert Gans that "In the past and in my writings I have urged that the news become more mutiperspective , that national news depend less on tope down news, form high level government and other official authoritative sources. Instead, new media should do more than reporting from and about other levels and sectors of society and how these see and interpret the country and its problems. The mainstream news media as well as the economy and polity in which the news media are embedded have changed over the past decades and the arrival of the Internet offers a chance to add different kinds of news. These changes justify a revisit the multiperspectival news which focuses particularly on the journalists' role in representative democracy.

Gans was asked in an interview that since he wrote his book "Deciding What's News" in 1979, what would he change and what would he leave intact - from the original? Gans replied:

"I wish someone would do such a study, because both [network TV news and newsmagazines] now have smaller audiences and smaller budgets, but the network evening news has barely changed in format or content in the last 40 years, while the newsmagazines are changing drastically. I would want to do such a study how they decide how and what to change - and what to keep - and what direct and indirect roles news organizations' budgets and news audiences play in these changes and in the shape of national news generally."

And Gans goes on to define how in 1979 he defined "Multiperspectival news" and explains why he still thinks it is still a relevant need, and why it is still relevant today given the challenges facing legacy news outslets: Gans elaborates: "When I did my original research, national news was limited mostly to what I might now call 'monoperspectival news', sometimes also called 'stenographic news'. I oversimplify somewhat here,but national news was dominated by journalists reporting what authoritative sources, especially top government officials, told them - or, when these disagreed, what "both sides" (usually Republican and Democratic) were claiming."

Gans adds: "Multiperspectal news reporting is more diverse. It seeks news about other subjects that are newsworthy for the variety of audiences in the total news audience; it obtains news from many other sources, including ordinary citizens, and it reports a variety of political, ideological, and social viewpoints (or perspectives. Here's my favorite example. Poor audiences need business news like everyone else, but not about investing in the stock market or the latest newsworthy act,legal or illegal, by corporate bigwigs. They need to know about businesses in which they can afford to shop and the ones that will hire them, as well as the charitable and public agencies that can help them when they are jobless and in need. Today, thanks to cable news and the Internet, the news is much more multiperspectival that it was in the past, but it reaches a far smaller audience than traditional legacy news."

Gans offers his perspective as to whether he thinks that newsrooms as they function today can shift to adapt to make these changes in their perspective. He response thusly": "When I published "Deciding What's News" in 1979, I suggested increasing the number and variety of news media. Today,cable, the Web and other technologies have made that happen, and we are at a stage in the innovation process in which further new journalistic formats and ideas are being tried out all the time. What can be monetized and what can be supplied free of charge remains to be seen, but if the needed monies and audiences are there, the journalists and the newsrooms will come to stay."

Gans has argued that journalists are stuck in the box of their own world views,which often reflected their own social status and the ensuing beliefs about their own social status and the ensuing beliefs about nation and society, and gives an idea as to how we can get around that. "I find the idea of journalists as representatives intriguing, in part because the U.S. is an upscale democracy, the politics of which is dominated by corporate campaign funders and the upper-middle-income population that votes and participates more actively than the rest. As a result, U.S. politics does a poor job of representing the remainder of the citizenry, especially those earning below the median income and various numerical minorities."

Gans further adds that: "Journalists are not elected officials and they cannot be political representatives or advocates but they can be represent people in a variety of other ways, for example by turning their experiences and problems into news, and by asking politicians and other authoritative sources questions to which unrepresented and poorly represented citizens need answers. Journalists can also pay more attention to (now) poorly represented political and other ideas. I think J-schools and news organizations can either recruit journalists who can get journalists unstuck from their own boxes or teach them to do so. Moreover, multiperspectival news - and representative journalism - would require a greater diversity of journalists, especially those coming from and familiar with the lives of poorly represented citizens and ideas."

This is what Gans has to say about who he sees as today's journalist, since the 'type' of journalists existing then when he wrote his book in 1979, has changed today in the 21st century technological media environment. Gans elaborates as follows: "I don't think professional journalists have changed at all that much since the book came out, other than that they are more educated and professionally better trained. Newsrooms have changed, as have all other workplaces, but I don't see a big difference in today's news judgements. Even the inverted pyramid has not yet been torn down."

Gans foes on to point out that : "True, there are amateurs who supple photos, videos, and even news stories to supplement what is gathered by professional journalists - but the latter still provide most of of the actually-consumed news. It's just that much of the news and opinion we once told each other face-to-face and in small groups is now visible to so many other people in the Web's so called Social Media. However, even if it is visible, does not necessarily mean that it is seen. One must always remember that ordinary people do not pay the same kind of attention to news as do journalists and media researchers, whether it is Facebook's personal news or the TV networks' professional news."

It is also important to take note When Gans speaks about citizen news, which he sees as helping be more educated politically, and he tries to point out as to where do such changes as the citizen journalism movement and hyperlocal news fit into tis vision of citizen News. Gans informs us in this manner: "Journalists need to pay more more attention to what citizens are doing, politically, and what their elected representatives do and don't do for them. conversely, elected representatives should know more about their constituents, especially the silent ones. Reporting more such news would incorporate the citizenry a little more into the political process, and would also offer citizens seeking to be more active examples of citizen activity. Since such news will probably always be of lower priority to professional journalists, help from the citizen journalism movement and supporters of local news would be desirable."

Gans proceeds to explain a little bit about the relationship between the general news audience and this targeted audience, and if whether there is enough overlap to create a common conversation.: "News media are targeted but the audiences are ot. there are mews media which seek to communicate with a particular audience, which may be targeted by gender, education, race, etc (we have discussed the race factor of the news gathering and media projections above, before we delved into Gans's take on multiperspectival perspective); and, there are other news media - most, in fact - which try to attract everyone. However, audiences head for where they want to go, and may people turn to both general and targeted media. But I wouldn't imagine much overlap or a common converstation. I am not even sure that many people converse very often about what's in the news media, other than journalists and media researchers."

In contemporary technological times, media, information, reporting has taken on a new tack, and we shall be elaborating further on this aspect of looking at other alternative takes on who and what decides news and who are the audiences and what the effects and affects are to the users. Below we look into this new phenomena of sharing and dissemination of information.

We will defer at this stage to Ian Crouch who wrote the following article:

How Viral Culture Is Changing How We Learn, Share, Create and Interact:

[New Ways Of an Emerging Reporting/Reportage and Viral Journalism]

"Bill Wasik’s "And Then There's This: How Stories Live And Die in Viral Culture" deceptively slim book is packed with anecdotes, theories, and arguments about contemporary media culture. It’s part memoir from Wasik, the merry prankster who created the 'flash mob craze' in 2003. And it’s part cultural inquiry, complete with clever social experiments and searing commentary.

While Wasik admits he is often tempted “to lionize viral culture as a people-powered paradise,” he thoroughly and persuasively argues that most of what we see, read, and discuss with one another is disposable by design, and ultimately corrosive. Let’s consider some of Wasik’s larger arguments.

The nanostory

Does the name Blair Hornstine ring a bell? Probably not, though that’s fine with Wasik. He suspects that if you remember anything about her, it will be her brief notoriety as the “girl who sued to become valedictorian” of her graduating class in 2003. She had been forced to share the top spot with a classmate due to a technicality, and rather than graciously share the honor, she decided instead to take her case to federal court, where the judge awarded her sole rights to the position and a hefty chunk of cash in punitive damages. Hornstine’s tale might have ended there, had the local paper she often wrote for not discovered that many of her stories contained extensive cases of plagiarism. Harvard rescinded her acceptance and talking heads rushed to label her emblematic of all that was wrong with America’s success-obsessed youth.

Wasik uses this unsavory story to introduce a new term, the nanostory — the “media pileons that surge and die off within a matter of months, days, even hours.” Once Hornstine became a big story — in major American newspapers and across cable and the Internet — she ceased to be a person, or even a name. She instead became a titillating and easily digestible modern fable, modern not only in its meaning but in its arc. All stories have a fixed lifespan, but the nanostory is so named both for its brief, bright existence and its false aura of social importance:

We allow ourselves to believe that a narrative is larger than itself, that it holds some portent for the long-term future; but soon enough we come to our senses, and the story, which cannot bear the weight of what we have heaped upon it, dies almost as suddenly as it emerged.

These stories get huge initial buzz, but then suffer from nearly simultaneous backlash — as if fame and backlash are not only inseparable but adjacent on a timeline. The stories and people involved are, writes Wasik, “gobbled up into the mechanical maw of the national conversation, masticated thoroughly, and spat out.” Susan Boyle was a nanostory. So was Miss California. You’ll find a couple new ones on most news aggregators every day.

These are silly news stories that break big. But Wasik also argues that many nanostories are generated and promoted by the subjects themselves. Take Amber Lee Ettinger, last fall’s Obama Girl, whose parlayed her role in the YouTube hit “Crush On Obama” into political commentator appearances on CNN and elsewhere. She recently 'tossed out the first pitch"at the Brooklyn Cyclones’ Obama night.

Viral culture and the media mind

But you might argue that these bits of triviality have always been around. We’ve been distracting ourselves with gossip, nonsense, and superficial oddities for ages. What makes the nanostory different?

Wasik says the nanostory thrives today because we live in a viral culture. That culture labels ideas and stories as culturally significant almost instantaneously; it rewards shamelessness and confers attention for the briefest of moments. But Wasik admits that these same factors have been in place throughout the television age. The difference, he writes, is the audience. Wasik argues that people now operate with a collective media mind: that we are all savvy marketers of ourselves and eager to reward such initiative in others.

Having been sold culture for so many years, in so many sophisticated ways, consumers have now been handed the tools to sell themselves and they are doing so with great gusto.

Central to that self-marketing is access to data. Just as corporate marketers measure success and make predictions based on sophisticated analysis, so do individuals who put themselves out there online. Wasik argues that the ubiquity of user behavior data on sites such as Tecnocrati and Alexa give individuals tools that once cost corporations millions. Not only can we monitor the performance of a blog post or uploaded video, but we can use data to predict what new content might make a poster famous.

And Wasik argues that fame seems more attainable than ever. Anyone posting on YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook is making a considered presentation of themselves to the world at large. They are acting out a role in the public sphere. And that act, Wasik argues, “changes what you say, how you act, how you see yourself.” Wasik never says it explicitly, but when he writes about the “hoardes of supposed naifs out there writing their blogs,” he is primarily talking about a certain demographic: the always-coveted 18-25s and 26-35s. In Wasik’s viral culture, these demographics are no longer just consumers of media and advertising; they’ve seized the means of cultural production as well. While it might be a democratic triumph to have the power to create media wrested away from a select group of culture makers, the new products created by that democracy leave Wasik dismayed.

The flash mob

Wasik knows firsthand about the allure of new media fame. He caused a stir in 2006 when he outed himself in Harper’s as the until-then anonymous architect of flash mobs, a social spectacle that hit New York in 2003 and spread around the globe — even seeping into the world of corporate advertising. Born out of what Wasik describes as a sort of existential boredom, the flash mob was a supposedly spontaneous assembly of people in a public place — a Claire’s accessory shop, the lobby of a Grand Hyatt — orchestrated beforehand by a series of email instructions. Wasik’s descriptions of these new media capers make for great reading — flash mob attendees wander through the rug department of Macy’s looking for the perfect “love rug,” or form a line blocks long ending at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, waiting for Strokes tickets that will never turn up. While another writer may have smugly observed the nonsense he had created, the strength of these tales comes from Wasik’s obvious bewilderment and dismay. How had he done this?

Again, Wasik argues that the prominence of his nanostory emerged from the Internet’s unique role as an archive of data and content. While television swamped us with stories, we had few ways to measure who cared about what. Now, as social networks and traffic monitors reveal popularity on a nearly minute-to-minute scale, we are more susceptible than ever to herd behavior or the bandwagon effect. Wasik recalls watching with a mix of delight and horror as he transformed into the shrouded cult-figure “Bill,” venerated by the hoards newly at his disposal. The crowds grew as e-mails were forwarded on and on, and soon the conventional media began to take notice. Wasik did interviews with hundreds of media outlets, themselves eager to be seen reporting on the cutting-edge of culture.

Wasik was interviewed by scores of media outlets from around the world, but he singles out reporter Amy Harmon of The New York Times as particularly emblematic of the way that members of the traditional media approached the story. Harmon contacted Wasik (still anonymous at that point) by phone long after many other outlets had covered the story. Harmon said she knew the Times was late to the story but planned to devote prominent space in the "Week In Review section identifying flash mobbing as a fascinating current trend. Instead,Harmon's piece focused on growing backlash against the mobs on the web. But Wasik writes that the backlash hadn’t even happened yet — the Times was simply pushing this nanostory along to the next logical stop on its path to irrelevancy. The evidence marshaled by Harmon, Wasik writes, “hardly constituted a ‘backlash’ against this still-growing, intercontinental fad, but what I think Harmon and the Times rightly understood was that a backlash was the only avenue by which they could advance the story, i.e., find a new narrative.”

Wasik never makes clear whether he feels the Times story led to the backlash that followed, but eventually it did come, and the mobs were soon over. He notes that they could ultimately unsustainable, since they were the very definition of a nanostory: they didn’t mean anything, and soon people came to realize it.

But mobs live on. Wasik describes the surreal experience of attending a “flash mob” for the Ford Fusion at City Hall Plaza in Boston, orchestrated entirely by a marketing company. The event is a bust; it feels staged and obviously commercial. People walk by, disregarding the scene as the marketing stunt it clearly was. Like traditional media, which seemed both eager and clumsy while covering the story, corporate America had fallen for the gag but somehow missed the point.

Following his unnerving success with flash mobs, Wasik set out to perform a series of similar experiments in the new media world. Fascinated by the star-making power of the music-review site Pitchfork on the indie scene, Wasik attempts to destroy the Swedish band Peter Bjorn and Hohn as they threaten to emerge at the 2007 SXSW festival. He starts the blog Stop Peter Bjorn and John and arranges a mock-protest. Within a week EW.com and Mother Jones, among others reported on growing backlash against the group. Soon this innocuous pop group had earned the label “controversial” on the San Francisco Chronicle's culture blog. But not all his experiments build buzz: his oppodepot.com, which attempted to aggregate dirt on all the 2008 Presidential candidates, attracted little traffic — because the site failed to take a partisan angle, Wasik says.

So what? Conclusions and ideas looking forward

What conclusions could one draw from reading Wasik describe — and experiment with — these new cultural products? Here are a few:

The Internet is a false cure for boredom. Wasik says he began the flash mob project out of a sort of existential boredom; he admits he is often bored. The web, with its instant access to information and entertainment, is the ultimate place to “do something” without doing much at all, Wasik argues. He writes that the web has not eliminated our boredom, just distracted us from it.

Viral culture rewards narrow thinking. Each of Wasik’s social experiments was founded on a clearly defined meme, a narrow and finely executed idea. We see that blogs that tend to gain notoriety (or book deals) do "one thing really well", while blogs with wide focus often fall by the wayside. But serious writing or good political commentary thrive on complexity, exactly what viral culture rejects as too complicated.

Culture is infected with a virus. He writes that a meme or nanostory is like an “independent agent loosed into the world, where it travels from mind to mind, burrowing into each, colonizing all as widely and ruthlessly as it can.” Wasik argues that these trivial items are choking us, blinding us, and making us both stupid and crazy.

Everything is a meme. Though Wasik lumps both news items and self-promoted projects under the same “nanostory” or “meme” headings, it seems that these two categories are fundamentally different. He devotes too little energy to sorting out who continues to control and disseminate information, and grants too much power to individuals and too little to still powerful media conglomerates and corporations.

Crowds are not as wise as they seem. Wasik suggests that culture has devolved into a popularity contest, with news outlets mistaking clickthroughs, pageviews, and most-emailed lists for reliable indicators of quality and worth. He cites a Columbia Study that found people tasked with downloading and evaluating music relied largely on the popularity of the songs among other respondents.

Nanostories are killing us. In the book’s final section, Wasik offers this rousing plea: “We want reason in our politics, greatness in our art, and we see that these are incompatible with our feckless, churning conversation. We must learn how to neuter our nanostories, or at least cut off their food supply.” Viral culture, he seems to argue, is at perhaps permanent odds with seriousness and quality.

We might be doomed. While there’s much to agree with in Wasik’s arguments, he offers us few specifics on how to “neuter” these viral stories. He mentions Jake Silverstein’s idea of an Internet Ramadan, during which participants go offline for a month, or Intel’s flirtation with offline “quiet time” one morning a week. Rather than offer specifics, Wasik focuses on individual choices, the familiar idea of unplugging ourselves from the constant flow of information — or, more elegantly, that “we must become judicious controllers of our own contexts, making careful and self-reflective choices about what we read, watch, consume.”

Wasik asks hard questions to which there are no simple answers. But if we are experiencing a moment of cultural catastrophe, shouldn’t the remedies extend beyond such relatively simple, personal decisions? After all, we can only consume what the culture makes available. A constructive question going forward, it seems, might be: rather than simply cut ourselves off, can we use the apparatus of digital media to produce and enjoy quality content?"

What Makes a Story Newsworthy?

Media College informs us in this way:

News can be defined as "Newsworthy information about recent events or happenings, especially as reported by news media". But what makes news newsworthy?

There is a list of five factors, detailed below, which are considered when deciding if a story is newsworthy. When an editor needs to decide whether to run with a particular story, s/he will ask how well the story meets each of these criteria. Normally, a story should perform well in at least two areas.

Naturally, competition plays a part. If there are a lot of newsworthy stories on a particular day then some stories will be dropped. Although some stories can be delayed until a new slot becomes available, time-sensitive news will often be dropped permanently.

1. Timing

The word news means exactly that - things which are new. Topics which are current are good news. Consumers are used to receiving the latest updates, and there is so much news about that old news is quickly discarded.

A story with only average interest needs to be told quickly if it is to be told at all. If it happened today, it's news. If the same thing happened last week, it's no longer interesting.

2. Significance

The number of people affected by the story is important. A plane crash in which hundreds of people died is more significant than a crash killing a dozen.

3. Proximity

Stories which happen near to us have more significance. The closer the story to home, the more newsworthy it is. For someone living in France, a major plane crash in the USA has a similar news value to a small plane crash near Paris.

Note that proximity doesn't have to mean geographical distance. Stories from countries with which we have a particular bond or similarity have the same effect. For example, Australians would be expected to relate more to a story from a distant Western nation than a story from a much closer Asian country.

4. Prominence

Famous people get more coverage just because they are famous. If you break your arm it won't make the news, but if the Queen of England breaks her arm it's big news.

5. Human Interest

Human interest stories are a bit of a special case. They often disregard the main rules of newsworthiness; for example, they don't date as quickly, they need not affect a large number of people, and it may not matter where in the world the story takes place.

Human interest stories appeal to emotion. They aim to evoke responses such as amusement or sadness. Television news programs often place a humorous or quirky story at the end of the show to finish on a feel-good note. Newspapers often have a dedicated area for offbeat or interesting items.

Internet on the Puppet Strings of government and Big Business

Internet on the Puppet Strings of government and Big Business

Enigma Codebreakers Spawned Modern-day Computers, In 1936..

Joe Miller Wrote:

Joan Clarke's ingenious work as a codebreaker during WW2 saved countless lives, and her talents were formidable enough to command the respect of some of the greatest minds of the 20th Century, despite the sexism of the time.

But while Bletchley Park hero Alan Turing - who was punished by a post-war society where homosexuality was illegal and died at 41 - has been treated more kindly by history, the same cannot yet be said for Clarke.

The only woman to work in the nerve centee of the quest to crack German Enigma ciphers, Clarke rose to deputy head of Hut 8, and would be its longest-serving member.

She was also Turing's lifelong friend and confidante and, briefly, his fiancée.

Her story has been immortalized by Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game, out in UK cinemas this week.

Clerical work

In 1939, Clarke was recruited into the Government Code and Cypher School (GCCS) by one of her supervisors at Cambridge, where she gained a double first in mathematics, although she was prevented from receiving a full degree, which women were denied until 1948.

As was typical for girls at Bletchley, (and they were universally referred to as girls, not women) Clarke was initially assigned clerical work, and paid just £2 a week - significantly less than her male counterparts.

Within a few days, however, her abilities shone through, and an extra table was installed for her in the small room within Hut 8 occupied by Turing and a couple of others.

In order to be paid for her promotion, Clarke needed to be classed as a linguist, as Civil Service bureaucracy had no protocols in place for a senior female cryptanalyst. She would later take great pleasure in filling in forms with the line: "grade: linguist, languages: none".

Lifesaving work

The navy ciphers decoded by Clarke and her colleagues were much harder to break than other German messages, and largely related to U-boats that were hunting down Allied ships carrying troops and supplies from the US to Europe.

Her task was to break these ciphers in real time, one of the most high-pressure jobs at Bletchley, according to Michael Smith, author of several books on the Enigma project.

The messages Clarke decoded would result in some military action being taken almost immediately, Mr Smith explains.

U-boats would then either be sunk or circumnavigated, saving thousands of lives.

Turing 'kissed me'

During this time, Clarke and Turing became ever closer, co-ordinating their days off in order to spend more time together. In 1941, he proposed, although the engagement was ultimately short-lived.

"We did do some things together, perhaps went to the cinema and so on, but certainly, it was a surprise to me when he said... 'Would you consider marrying me?'," Clarke recounted in an interview for a BBC Horizon documentary, aired in 1992.

"But although it was a surprise, I really didn't hesitate in saying yes, and then he knelt by my chair and kissed me, though we didn't have very much physical contact.

"Now next day, I suppose we went for a bit of a walk together, after lunch. He told me that he had this homosexual tendency.

"Naturally, that worried me a bit, because I did know that was something which was almost certainly permanent, but we carried on."

However, just a few months later, Turing broke off the engagement, believing that the marriage would ultimately fail

Nonetheless, Clarke and Turing remained close friends until his death in 1954.

Graham Moore, who wrote the screenplay for The Imitation Game, says he saw similarities between the two cryptanalysts, and he believes this brought them together.

"They were both such outsiders, and that gave them some common ground," he explains.

"They were able to see things in a different way to others."

Indeed, they shared each other's passions, such as chess, puzzles, botany and even, on one occasion, knitting.

Forgotten by history

Because of the secrecy that still surrounds events at Bletchley Park, the full extent of Clarke's achievements remains unknown.

Although she was appointed MBE in 1947 for her work during WW2, Clarke, who died in 1996, never sought the spotlight, and rarely contributed to accounts of the Enigma project.

But the esteem in which she was held by her colleagues, and the fact that "her equality with the men was never in question, even in those unenlightened days", as Michael Smith writes, are a tribute to her remarkable abilities.

Morten Tyldum, the director of The Imitation Game emphasises that Clarke succeeded as a female in cryptanalysis at a time "when intelligence wasn't really appreciated in women".

There were a handful of other female codebreakers at Bletchley, notably Margaret Rock, Mavis Lever and Ruth Briggs, but as Kerry Howard - one of the few people to research their roles in GCCS - explains, their contributions are hardly noted anywhere.

"Up until now the main focus has been on the male professors who dominated the top level at Bletchley," she says. In order to find any information on the women involved, you have "to dig much deeper".

"There are a lot of people in this story who should have their place in history," says Keira Knightley.

"Joan is certainly one of them"

Global Internet Traffic

Global Internet Traffic

People have a variety of motivations for receiving news online. surveys show that the single largest reason for getting news online is convenience. this has no always been the case. In 1996, the 53 percent of Americans who cited the inability to get all they want from "traditional news sources" was greater than the 45 percent who cited convenience as a reason for going online for election news. By 2000, convenience had not just passed the inadequacy of traditional news sources as a reason for getting online news, but overwhelmed it by 56 to w9 percent.

Another reason is that the dimension of online consumption did not represent a typical social and demographic section of America. The receipt of online news varies with socioeconomic factors. Both use the Internet and consumption of news generally increase with education. It is, therefore, not surprising that those receiving news online are generally better educated than the average American.

Internet news-reading has also eliminated newspaper-reading by the youth. The Internet is one medium where young people get their news than the elderly.

There is a huge gulf between the established media and citizen perceptions of online news. The gulf persisted even after the Internet had become a majority medium. This is clear from a survey comparing comparing media personnel with the online news public. While 77 percent of media elites said that the public was less comfortable with the reliability of online news, only 28 percent of the online public said it was. While 27 percent of the online public agrees that "there is too much news on the Internet to sort through and make sense of it all," over half of media elites said that "there is too much news on the Internet for the Public to sort through and make sense of it all."

In sum, citizens feel empowered while media elites are somewhat threatened by the political journalism on the Internet. It seems likely that people of the world will be comforted by the Internet's influence on political juranlism. thomas Jefferson put it this way: "Our citizens may be deceived for a while, and have been deceived, but as long as the presses can be protected, we may trust them for light.". In our present-day life this life can be found coming from a glowing monitor, but at the same time, with the public choosing as to what is news.

Converging and Submerging Media

Media convergence have become a vital element of life for many people. With the development of technology in  different  platforms and operations such as television, Internet and mobile communication, audiences have had both a bigger choice of media

Media convergence have become a vital element of life for many people. With the development of technology in different platforms and operations such as television, Internet and mobile communication, audiences have had both a bigger choice of media

Convergence Of Old Traditional Media In the Web

The viewer and consumer of news is the one who decides what's news and what is not newsworthy. This point is made clearer by Seib who notes:

"the technology has progressed to the point that it allows the viewer to see more of the process of gathering news. ... People are seeing news news as it develops. And I'm not sure that's bad. It kind of hits at some of the criticism of the media for slanting the news. You can't say it was slanted when its live.

"When a major story greaks, partnerships usually give way to battling for unique story angles. The resulting news product, however, should not be regarded as merely a trophy by the competing journalists. Most important is the effect on the audience-how people use the information they receive.

"... One reason for the emphasis on speed was competition from the Internet. Rather than leave the public to its own devices and let the people get the news on their own in this way, television news executives decided to try to match the Internet's speed as information provider. The problem with this approach is that merely delivering raw information is not journalism.

"The distinction could be seen in newspapers' coverage of many important reports like the Starr Report. Many presented lengthy excerpts and a few, such as the New York Times, printed the entire coument. But their news stories were carefully considered and structured: emphasis was placed on what was judged most important, caveats were offered about the unproven nature of allegations, and limits were placed on how much of the sexually graphic material was included.

The Starr's release was a turning point for the Internet in ts relationship with other information media. For many people, the Web was no longer merely an ocean on which to surf for the news, but had become a primary source. According to Eb traffic tracker RelevantKnowledge, approximately 24.7 million people saw the Starr report during the first two days it was online. That exceeds the circulation of America's fifty largest daily newspapers.

"Another step forward with the Starr report was improved screen format. Software companies are making material easier to read by combining text with a table of contents and scrolling footnotes at the bottom of the screen. The great duel between the computer screen and the printed page centers on 'convenience'(As duly noted above), for the information consumer.

"For the Internet site designer. the goal is to minimize the amount of clicking and other maneuvering required to read a document. Graphics should always be helpful and notdistracting. the trial-and-error approach is quickly moving toward making the Internet a much more reader-friendly medium."

In my reckoning, I think the Internet is is more than -reader/viewer friendly, if one were to mull a bit on this point. The software that is being constantly updated in one's computer from unknown sources, and the fact that Cable TV. like Time Warners channels and system of delivery, is constantly being updated, is one of the many technological developments when gizmos and information are wrapped with a technique that explains both their function and, effect and effect on the viewer.

Another way of looking at is is understanding what options and choices of convenience are being presented to the news/information consumingInternet polity, there are some choices for the viewer/reader, and there are designed and structured rules and operation dictated by the gizmos and the Internet and information storage, accumulation and disbursement and their techniques.

We known from Seib, that "radio and television" were not limited to reporting what had already happened. As years passed, increasingly sophisticated technology made this kind of reporting easier and more common. Going 'live' became the trademark for broadcast and the cable news.

"Cable and satellite carriers have fostered a proliferation of television offerings, and the pace of daily life-inculding the interminable "drive time"-has reinforced radio's popularity. but the journalistic standards have not always kept up with technological advances. As the continuum of electronic news stretches into the future, significant doubts exist about the quality of the news product.

"Now that is changing. Even print news organizations are delivering their product electronically as well as on paper. The World Wide Web is the next major news medium. On the Web, newspapers and magazines can go and live. Bu doing so, they give up time that was a friend to judgement. They also find that part of their traditional cultured has become obsolete. The system of the print newsroom was built upon a regular publishing schedule.

"for journalists crafting stories, the news cycle-daily for newspapers, longer for magazines-was as reliable as a metronome. No more. Morning newspapers such as the Washington Post are producing online editions at other times in the day and delivering updated reports at a moment's notice. The public has little tolerance for any sluggishness in regard to Web news.

"Television and radio are also adapting to the realities of the Internet, creating their own Web sites as the online audience grows. For electronic news organizations, the Web allows expansion of real-time offering. Networks and stations use their Web sites to offer "Netcasts"-initially supplements to regular news programming (such as expanded reporting of election night vote tallies), with unique content soon to follow. The sites also feature new and archived video and audio demand.

Despite the nearly infinite capacity of the Internet, the Online World is already getting crowded. The Web world of news is cluttered with sites that are delivering similar products. Only the most resolute Web junkies will partake of all this, and the new medium's economics are proving harsh for those whose sites do not have well-known brand name or other appealing features. Many offerings will disappear as other merge with former competitors. On the Web, the products of the New York Times and ABC News will be very much alike in the mix of text, audio and video. The logical step is the joint enterprise. This is "COnvergence-nes organizations from different media coming together in the new medium. the Viral Streaming Media Ecology has offered and tipped the balance of traditional news, and is presenting with news ways of Media and a new environment of surfing the informational Web.

Teaching Mass Media Commmunication andMass Communication

Will Online News Kill Print?

Seniors Do not Think Online News Will Kill Print. Today’s New York newsstand is packed with print—from the Times and Post to such as ethnic-media fare as El Dario, the Polish Nowy Dziennik, Jewish Press and all three Irish papers.

Seniors Do not Think Online News Will Kill Print. Today’s New York newsstand is packed with print—from the Times and Post to such as ethnic-media fare as El Dario, the Polish Nowy Dziennik, Jewish Press and all three Irish papers.

Analogue Journalism: Deciding News The Old Way

“How did Céline Dion’s backyard merit a front-page photo,” reader Michelle Guilmette asked this week. “Is there nothing else newsworthy out there?”

The day before, reader Bill Archibald emailed to inquire why the Star had devoted time and space to the story of Ludwig the cat who went missing at Pearson airport. Why, he asked, is a lost cat news?

In any given week, readers of the Star are apt to ask some variation of the essential questions at the heart of those emails: What is news? Who decides what the Star pays attention to — and what it ignores. What runs on Page 1 and on the home page of thestar.com?

Readers are quick to weigh in on what the Star covers as well as what it doesn’t cover.

I often hear from those of you who are disappointed that the Star did not cover an event in which you have a particular interest. For example, this week a reader wondered why he could not find news about the Princess Patricia's Regiment anniversary celebrations in the Star.

Another longtime reader, a 70-year-old man who told me he was sexually abused in his childhood, wrote an impassioned letter imploring the Star to provide more coverage of the serious questions raised in the final report (released last December) of Ontario’s public inquiry into sexual abuse allegations in Cornwall.

The Oxford Canadian Dictionary defines news as “information about important or interesting recent events.” There’s broad scope in that for judgment about what is “important” — information you need to know — and what is “interesting” — stuff you might want to know.

Deciding what’s news is the core work of the media. As the renowned journalist and media critic Walter Lippman once said: “All the reporters in the world, working all the hours of the day, could not witness all the happenings in the world.”

Journalism is, by necessity, the art of selection, of deciding what matters and how to present that to audiences. While the Internet and the emergence of “citizen journalism” and social media have made it easier to connect and communicate within our global village, leading some to argue that journalism’s role as a “gatekeeper” is not necessary, there’s a case to be made that the barrage of accessible information makes the editor’s job of selection more vital.

The Star’s senior editors strive to provide a mix of what they believe readers need to know and what you might want to know. Clearly, on any given day, their news judgment won’t be in accord with that of all readers — or even all Star journalists. “Why is that news?” is a sentiment as apt to be expressed in the newsroom as in the public editor’s email box.

Indeed, such was the case with Thursday’s Page 1 play of Céline Dion’s $20 million new estate. For my part, I’m with reader Keung Lui who wrote: “I am happy for Céline and her 8-year-old son that they could afford a $20 million play house. But is this so-called news worth the front page of theToronto Star? Don’t you have some real and more important news to report?”

How do journalists decide what is news? Is news simply determined by an editor’s whim, as expressed by the oft-cited cliché of the powerful editor who declares, “News is what I say it is.”

Textbook definitions of news that aim to teach aspiring journalists how to develop “news judgment” are of little practical use in the daily, and increasingly online, hourly, fray of deciding what’s news. For example, few editors ever consciously consider what one text tells us: “News is information about a break from the normal flow of events, an interruption in the unexpected” (practical translation: Dog bites man: not news. Man bites dog: news).

Stanley Walker, the famous editor of the now-defunct New York HeraldTribune defined news as the three W’s — “women, wampum and wrongdoing” (practical translation: sex, money and crime). That’s sexist, to be sure. How far off is it, though? Consider how those universal elements figure in many important and interesting news stories.

Journalism textbooks define the factors of newsworthiness as the impact of information on citizens, whether conflict and controversy are involved, timeliness, the prominence of those involved and proximity to the audience.

Novelty and oddity also factor in. Many successful editors, striving to appeal to readers, have long defined news as that which makes a reader say, “Gee whiz!”

For most journalists, deciding what’s news is instinctive, rooted in experience and their perceptions of what readers want. Practical factors such as space, reporting resources, the mix of hard news and softer features, the number of events competing for attention, as well as the availability of compelling photos to illustrate the news, are also at play.

All these theories aside, there is one overriding consideration that helps explain the daily puzzle of what is news: What’s newsworthy on a “slow news day” is far different than what you’ll read when a natural disaster happens or a parliamentary scandal breaks.

It’s a safe bet that Céline Dion’s water-park would not have made such a splash on the day a tsunami struck or there was a tidal wave of earth-shaking news.

Internet News is Different from Newspaper News in many ways

Online ads can be particularly jarring while you're reading about tragedies such as the Newtown school shootings

Online ads can be particularly jarring while you're reading about tragedies such as the Newtown school shootings

Holding Out On News And Deciding What 's News: Seniors On News Selection

Bridget Cagney’s mother read to her every night when she was a small child. “Then when I learnt to read books and newspapers, and you had to learn quickly in those days, it was the greatest joy of my childhood,” said the Queens, N.Y., resident about growing up in Ireland’s County Cork. “And reading still is a great joy.”

Cagney buys the New York Times about every second day and all three of the Irish weeklies published in New York City. “And Jim gets the Post,” she said of her husband, who emigrated with her in 1967.

Most Seniors Online—But Fewer to Read News

The Cagneys don’t own or use a computer, which puts them in a minority among those 65 and older in the United States. Last year, the Pew Research Center for the Internet and American Life announced that for the first time a majority of seniors (53 percent) use e-mail or the Internet.

But a previous Pew survey revealed that most of the older set doesn’t get news from any online source. The study found that only four in 10 members of those 65-74 ever go online for news, and merely one in six members of the “Greatest Generation” (75 and over) do so.

Paul Finnegan, executive director of the New York Irish Center in Long Island City, which encourages seniors to acquire computer skills, said his observations coincide with the Pew Center’s findings.

In an informal survey he conducted in early May of those who attend the center’s Wednesday seniors’ lunch, 40 people said they preferred newspapers as a source of news, while five indicated TV or radio was best for them. Only four chose the Internet.

“That TV/radio figure is a surprise,” Finnegan said. He wasn’t surprised, though, that all four of those who voted for online news are enthusiastic stalwarts of the center’s Saturday morning computer class.

Center regular Julia Anastasio, who sometimes goes online, is one of those who favor print media. “I get the Daily News every day and the Irish Echo every week,” said the native of County Offaly, Ireland. “The Irish Independent[Ireland’s largest-circulation daily] opens up on my computer. I sometimes go to the computer class and I’m getting better. I know how to Google.”

Anastasio’s favorite website is that of the Offaly-based Midland Radio 103, where she can read death notices and local sports news, as well as listen to music.

Even more enthusiastic computer users interviewed for this article regard online sources as supplemental, not as a replacement for print media.

“I'm computer fluent,” said Neil Hickey, a journalist for more than 50 years. He subscribes, though, to the print editions of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and several periodicals.

“There are huge advantages to the digital revolution,” said Hickey, an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a former editor-at-large for the Columbia Journalism Review. “I couldn't live without Google and e-mail. The whole world of information is at your fingertips.

“YouTube,” he added, “is a great joy and a phenomenal resource.”

But, Hickey said, “I tell students that, for me, at least, reading news online is unsatisfying and insufficient to my needs.”

Views of Three Former Teachers

Three former teachers interviewed expressed contrasting positions about the Internet. But all, like Hickey, said that for them print news is primary.

Patrick O’Sullivan, who spent his career teaching Spanish, commented, “You could spend hours at the computer.” The New Jersey resident, who has a second career as a realtor and follows the stock market as a hobby, continued, “But I go online for what I can’t read in the New York Timesand Barron’s.

O’Sullivan is unimpressed with the news he sees online. “Unlike the rich writing he finds in theTimes, he said, “There’s no great beauty to it.”

Joan Monsoury of Manhattan, said she relies on the Times, NPR News and PBS. She said she doesn’t feel “motivated” to acquire a computer: “If anything happens, I hear about it several times a day.”

Former English teacher Pat McGivern is someone who might be expected to take to the online experience more easily than others. Although she is a typist who worked with computers in classrooms before retiring just over a decade ago, she doesn’t own one. Instead, she checks and responds to e-mail at her local library on Long Island.

"Computers are a nuisance,” said McGivern, who still clips out newspaper articles to give to friends and family members.

She explained that reading e-mails causes her eyestrain after a while. That is not a problem when it comes to print, she noted, but lack of time is.

McGivern, who is studying the Irish language at Lehman College, said she hardly has time these days for the Times’ extensive arts articles she likes, plus the Irish Echo’s coverage of music and arts “and to know what's going on," McGivern said.

‘Watered Down’ Print

If the Times contains too much, McGivern finds that other print media offer too little. She recently dropped her subscription to Time magazine. “It's too dull and watered down,” she said. She had similar complaints about Long Island’s Catholic paper, which recently changed to a magazine format.

“We had very intellectual Catholic publications coming into the house in the 1950s. Now, they’re all very watered down. There’s not much in the way of theology,” she said.

Maurice “Mickey” Carroll stated, “There’s a lot of garbage passing around as news.” He should know. Carroll was the reporter for the defunct New York Herald Tribune, who was in the basement of Dallas police headquarters when Lee Harvey Oswald was shot dead live on national television following the Kennedy assassination.

Today, said Carroll, who worked for nine newspapers, the Times among them, “You’re getting blogs, opinion, amateurish stuff. It’s neatly printed. It looks the same.”

Now the director of Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, Carroll, stressed that in the past, “You knew how to behave with facts. It was in your blood. Even with new digital media, you hope that they will absorb the same standards.”

Optimistic about the economic viability of professional journalism, though, Carroll said, “Fingers crossed, say a prayer, it will sort itself out.”

Still, Carroll worries that the rise of cable news and the multiplicity of sources online means that people can cherry pick the evidence to suit their argument, a development he feels undermines the national conversation.

“TV is a big trap for seniors, particularly male seniors,” said Pat McGivern. “My friends in the Midwest are more liberal, but my friends in New York-- some of them listen to the guys who rant and rave.” She added that a member of her family believes that NPR is under the control of communists.

Newspapers’ ‘Serendipitous Aspect’

Carroll said he “surfs the headlines” online. “Every now and then I look at Politico,” he said. But he believes that looking through a newspaper yields better results. “The serendipitous aspect,” he said. “That’s lost [online].

“I’ve got to have a newspaper in my hands. But that’s because I’m old,” Carroll said, with a laugh. His friend Francis X. Clines, a member of the Times editorial board, told him that he’s typically the only person in the elevator at work with the newspaper under his arm. “None of the kids have it,” he said.

For some seniors, it is more than a case of what they’re used to; it’s what they like.

“I love the feel of the paper,” said Bridget Cagney, who sets aside time to read at the end of the day. “I get a great sense of warmth when I look at headlines in [the Hudson Newsstand] Grand Central.”

Cagney emphasized, “I can’t imagine giving up the paper. I deplore the day that we have to.”

In The Living Room, One's Hooked On Internet Pay TV

Media, cable and technology companies are fighting for consumers’ screen time, and their money, as viewing habits grow more unpredictable.

Media, cable and technology companies are fighting for consumers’ screen time, and their money, as viewing habits grow more unpredictable.

Some Unintended Consequences of Online News Reportage

On Monday afternoon, visitors to ABCNews.com who wanted to learn more about the latest news on the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., had a range of Web video options to choose among. But before they could watch, say, “Newtown Shooting: Teachers and Parents Turn to School Security,” visitors had to first sit through a playful ad for skin-care products. At CBSNews.com, watching “60 Minutes Reports: Tragedy in Newtown” came with a pre-roll pitch for insurance. On Yahoo! News, a video for “Newtown: Mourning and Grief” was coupled with an ad for batteries.

The juxtaposition of heart-wrenching news coverage with cheery holiday jingles can be particularly jarring online, which is a more active viewing experience—and a more intimate one. Also, without the presence of an anchor to ease the transition from news to advertising and back, the viewer can be watching singing dogs one moment and crying children the next.

This represents a tricky and growing challenge for news organizations. According to EMarketer, online video is the fastest growing category of Web ads; spending is expected to skyrocket from $2.93 billion in 2012 to $8.04 billion in 2016. When disaster strikes, be it a mass shooting, a terrorist attack, or a deadly storm, broadcasters attempt to strike a balance between making money from the surge in online viewers and managing advertisers’ reluctance to be seen alongside tragic news. In the worst-case scenario, the broadcaster and advertiser end up repelling the viewers they most seek to court.

While some brands (such as airlines) have contractual stipulations to halt their ads from appearing before videos about a tragedy in their industry (such as airline crashes), the decision is often left up to the discretion of the publisher.

Annie Rohrs, a spokesperson for CBSNews.com (CBS), says the site’s policy is to pull not only pre-roll ads but also display ads from news stories involving tragedies. “We removed all ads from our Newtown coverage on Friday,” Rohrs explained via e-mail on Monday night. “Due to a technical glitch, pre-roll ads were briefly run today in some video coverage.”

Julie Townsend, a spokesperson for ABC News (DIS), says that the news organization’s policy is to remove as many ads as possible from stories involving tragedies such as Sandy Hook, but that technical considerations make removing all pre-roll videos on a breaking news story more difficult than pulling down all the banner ads. Yahoo News (YHOO) declined to comment.

On NBCNews.com, viewers shouldn’t see any pre-roll ads in front of stories about the shooting in Newtown—for now. “On this story, very early in the coverage last week, we decided to turn the ads off,” says Stokes Young, executive producer for multimedia at NBCNews.com. “It was an editorial decision that is in line with our long-standing practice of considering the interests of the subjects of our stories, the viewers, and our advertisers, and whether playing a pre-roll ad in front of a video about such a horrific story would be appropriate for any of those three groups.”

Young says that at NBC News every video producer has the ability to turn off the pre-roll ad on a specific video—and also to escalate the question of appropriateness to the website’s top editors. Ultimately, it’s the site’s editorial team that decides whether a blanket policy of shutting off the ads is needed, due to the sensitivity of a particular news event. “Then we’ll let our partners in ad sales on the business side know,” says Young. “Generally, they’re supportive.”

Eventually, as the news cycle progresses from reporting on the initial victims of the tragedy to, say, exploring the long term political ramifications of the event, the editorial team will talk about whether to turn the ads back on. On Monday afternoon at NBC News, said Young, that moment still seemed a long way off.

Why News Is Like Sugar For Your Brain

The Combination of News from TV and the Internet is somehow Not Good for News Junkies, Or is it?

The Combination of News from TV and the Internet is somehow Not Good for News Junkies, Or is it?

Is there Value In News As we Receive it from Newspapers, TV/Cable or Internet..?

Czabe in his Internet Blog posted this piece:

This is a rather interesting story about how bad chronic consumption of modern television driven, internet delivered electronic news can be for your mind and even health.

It's As Bad As Sugar is For Your Body

And I'll admit: I have a hard time not reaching for this limitless supply of "brain sugar." News. Opinion articles. Politics. World affairs. And of course, sports news. News, news, news.

I often chide my own father, and father-in-law for watching cable and network news shows way too much.

My dad DVR's all 3 network newscasts each night, then proceeds to watch each one in succession, alternately yelling at the screen about their horrible and obvious liberal bias (no debate there) and fending off my mother's yelling at him about how they all "have the same damn stories!" (she's right too!).

My father-in-law when he visits, parks himself in front of Fox News and CNN for hours and hours at a time. I sometimes have to gently chide him to turn it off, because all cable news does is "anger up the blood" as the great Satchel Paige once said about fried meats.

Here's a few of the reasons why this author says we'd all be better off severely cutting back on our "news" consumption..

In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don't really concern our lives and don't require thinking. That's why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. We are beginning to recognise how toxic news can be.

News is irrelevant. Out of the approximately 10,000 news stories you have read in the last 12 months, name one that – because you consumed it – allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your career or your business. The point is: the consumption of news is irrelevant to you. But people find it very difficult to recognise what's relevant. It's much easier to recognise what's new. The relevant versus the new is the fundamental battle of the current age. Media organisations want you to believe that news offers you some sort of a competitive advantage. Many fall for that. We get anxious when we're cut off from the flow of news. In reality, news consumption is a competitive disadvantage. The less news you consume, the bigger the advantage you have.

News works like a drug. As stories develop, we want to know how they continue. With hundreds of arbitrary storylines in our heads, this craving is increasingly compelling and hard to ignore. Scientists used to think that the dense connections formed among the 100 billion neurons inside our skulls were largely fixed by the time we reached adulthood. Today we know that this is not the case. Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones. The more news we consume, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking with profound focus. Most news consumers – even if they used to be avid book readers – have lost the ability to absorb lengthy articles or books. After four, five pages they get tired, their concentration vanishes, they become restless. It's not because they got older or their schedules became more onerous. It's because the physical structure of their brains has changed.

News wastes time. If you read the newspaper for 15 minutes each morning, then check the news for 15 minutes during lunch and 15 minutes before you go to bed, then add five minutes here and there when you're at work, then count distraction and refocusing time, you will lose at least half a day every week. Information is no longer a scarce commodity. But attention is. You are not that irresponsible with your money, reputation or health. Why give away your mind?

News makes us passive. News stories are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. The daily repetition of news about things we can't act upon makes us passive. It grinds us down until we adopt a worldview that is pessimistic, desensitised, sarcastic and fatalistic. The scientific term is "learned helplessness". It's a bit of a stretch, but I would not be surprised if news consumption, at least partially contributes to the widespread disease of depression.

The recent Boston Marathon bombing has been a godsend for the cable networks, even though they would sanctimoniously deny it if pressed. It has given them hours and hours of sensational footage already, and with the capture of that one dummy alive, will provide weeks and months of additional "programming"
And there's nothing "wrong" per se about keeping up with what happens to him now, and what we might learn as to his terrorist connections.
But will it affect your life in any meaningful way? Will it deepen your knowledge of something in life that will be useful or give you happiness going forward?
No. Not a chance.
I am going to try to resist getting suckered in as best I can, because I know it's easy to do and I'm far from perfect. Even replacing the news with silly, staged shows like Duck Dynasty is a far better choice. At least Phil saying "happy-happy-happy" makes me smile and relaxes me.
Something Wolf Blitzer has never done."

In the age of social media, there is no such thing as broadcasting – everything is a conversation.

Overwhelmed by the changing media environment? You’re not alone. Read more: http://www.moveo.com/blog/overwhelmed-by-the-changing-media-environment-youre-not-alone. What are you doing to keep up?

Overwhelmed by the changing media environment? You’re not alone. Read more: http://www.moveo.com/blog/overwhelmed-by-the-changing-media-environment-youre-not-alone. What are you doing to keep up?

Mobile Devices Are changing Community Information Environments

The analysis above of the Maas media environments and news is not a simple matter that can be glossed-over. What I mean by saying so, is that there has been an evolution, change and shift of paradigm of news gathering, dissemination, presentation, consumption in every which way we can imagine from the past up to the the present technological society. This is important for the changes in the media are constantly changing as I am onto this Hub. This Hub is about the News and channels of discourse. The news has morphed into the what people make and deice is and can be news, and the old news organization are facing a new challenge they have never really anticipated-their consumers, do not only consume the news that these agencies produce, but they themselves produce and are making news and doing so with new and emerging gizmos within new and converging/emerging media environments.

The coming of the digital framework and environment ha changed the news and information paradigm to a new entity which we shall have to look at even much more carefully than we have hitherto done. One author who seems to capture this sense with alarming alacrity is Douglass Rushkoff who states:

“I am much less concerned with whatever it is technology may be doing to people that what people are choosing to do to one another through technology,” Mr. Rushkoff writes. “Facebook’s reduction of people to predictively modeled profiles and investment banking’s convolution of the marketplace into an algorithmic battleground were not the choices of machines.” They were made by human intelligence, because present shock’s ways of targeting, pinpointing and manipulating aren’t just shocking. They’re very lucrative too."

What I am trying to point out here is that the changes that have been wrought by these new merging and emerging technologies, techniques and their environments need to be understood much better and looked at from the old to the new, and maybe we can begin to have a semblance of being able to wrap our heads as to what is happening to our information/data base and environment-more especially, what our means of discourses are and how do we decide what is news today. Rushkoff informs us thusly:

"In my book I describe the present shock of politicians who — thanks to the 24/7 coverage ushered in by “the CNN effect” that began in the 1980s — “cannot get on top of issues, much less get ahead of them.” I notes that both the political left (MSNBC, with its slogan “Lean Forward”) and right (conservatism devoted to reviving traditional values) share this goal: They’re trying to escape the present."

It is therefore, with this mindset that I shall , below, begin to look at the media from the perspective of other people(writers) so as to give the reader a sense of what is really happening and maybe they can pick up from it some important insights as to what the contemporary media is all about.

..The State of The News Media

By Tom Rosenstiel and Amy Mitchell of the Project for Excellence in Journalism

By several measures, the state of the American news media improved in 2010.

After two dreadful years, most sectors of the industry saw revenue begin to recover. With some notable exceptions, cutbacks in newsrooms eased. And while still more talk than action, some experiments with new revenue models began to show signs of blossoming.

Among the major sectors, only newspapers suffered continued revenue declines last year—an unmistakable sign that the structural economic problems facing newspapers are more severe than those of other media. When the final tallies are in, we estimate 1,000 to 1,500 more newsroom jobs will have been lost—meaning newspapers, newsrooms are 30% smaller than in 2000.

Beneath all this, however, a more fundamental challenge to journalism became clearer in the last year. The biggest issue ahead may not be lack of audience or even lack of new revenue experiments. It may be that in the digital realm the news industry is no longer in control of its own future.

News organizations — old and new — still produce most of the content audiences consume. But each technological advance has added a new layer of complexity—and a new set of players—in connecting that content to consumers and advertisers.

In the digital space, the organizations that produce the news increasingly rely on independent networks to sell their ads. They depend on aggregators (such as Google) and social networks (such as Facebook) to bring them a substantial portion of their audience. And now, as news consumption becomes more mobile, news companies must follow the rules of device makers (such as Apple) and software developers (Google again) to deliver their content. Each new platform often requires a new software program. And the new players take a share of the revenue and in many cases also control the audience data.

That data may be the most important commodity of all. In a media world where consumers decide what news they want to get and how they want to get it, the future will belong to those who understand the public’s changing behavior and can target content and advertising to snugly fit the interests of each user. That knowledge — and the expertise in gathering it — increasingly resides with technology companies outside journalism.

In the 20th century, the news media thrived by being the intermediary others needed to reach customers. In the 21st, increasingly there is a new intermediary: Software programmers, content aggregators and device makers control access to the public. The news industry, late to adapt and culturally more tied to content creation than engineering, finds itself more a follower than leader shaping its business.

Meanwhile, the pace of change continues to accelerate. Mobile has already become an important factor in news. A new survey released with this year’s report, produced with Pew Internet and American Life Project in association with the Knight Foundation, finds that nearly half of all Americans (47%) now get some form of local news on a mobile device. What they turn to most there is news that serves immediate needs – weather, information about restaurants and other local businesses, and traffic. And the move to mobile is only likely to grow. By January 2011, 7% of Americans reported owning some kind of electronic tablet. That was nearly double the number just four months earlier.

The migration to the web also continued to gather speed. In 2010 every news platform saw audiences either stall or decline — except for the web. Cable news, one of the growth sectors of the last decade, is now shrinking, too. For the first time in at least a dozen years, the median audience declined at all three cable news channels.

For the first time, too, more people said they got news from the web than newspapers. The internet now trails only television among American adults as a destination for news, and the trend line shows the gap closing. Financially the tipping point also has come. When the final tally is in, online ad revenue in 2010 is projected to surpass print newspaper ad revenue for the first time. The problem for news is that by far the largest share of that online ad revenue goes to non-news sources, particularly to aggregators.

In the past, much of the experimentation in new journalism occurred locally, often financed by charitable grants, usually at small scale. Larger national online-only news organizations focused more on aggregation than original reporting. In 2010, however, some of the biggest new media institutions began to develop original newsgathering in a significant way. Yahoo added several dozen reporters across news, sports and finance. AOL had 900 journalists, 500 of them at its local Patch news operation (it then let go 200 people from the content team after the merger with Huffingtonpost). By the end of 2011, Bloomberg expects to have 150 journalists and analysts for its new Washington operation, Bloomberg Government. News Corp. has hired from 100 or 150, depending on the press reports, for its new tablet newspaper, The Daily, though not all may be journalists. Together these hires come close to matching the jobs in 2010 we estimate were lost in newspapers, the first time we have seen this kind of substitution.

A report in this year’s study also finds that new community media sites are beginning to put as much energy into securing new revenue streams — and refining audiences to do so — as creating content. Many also say they are doing more to curate user content.

Traditional newsrooms, meanwhile, are different places than they were before the recession. They are smaller, their aspirations have narrowed and their journalists are stretched thinner. But their leaders also say they are more adaptive, younger and more engaged in multimedia presentation, aggregation, blogging and user content. In some ways, new media and old, slowly and sometimes grudgingly, are coming to resemble each other.

The result is a news ecology full of experimentation and excitement, but also one that is uneven, has uncertain financial underpinning and some clear holes in coverage. Even in Seattle, one of the most vibrant places for new media, “some vitally important stories are less likely to be covered,” said Diane Douglas who runs a local civic group and considers the decentralization of media voices a healthy change. “It’s very frightening to think of those gaps and all the more insidious because you don’t know what you don’t know.” Some also worry that with lower pay, more demands for speed, less training, and more volunteer work, there is a general devaluing and even what scholar Robert Picard has called a “de-skilling” of the profession.

Among the features in this, the eighth edition of the State of the News Media produced by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, is a report on how American Newspapers fare relative to those in other countries, two reports on the status of community media, a survey on mobile and paid content in local news, and a report on African American Media. The chapters this year have also been reorganized and streamlined: each is made up now of a Summary Essay and a longer, separate By the Numbers section where all the statistical information is more easily searchable and interactive.

Pew Report:

Each year, this report also identifies key trends. In addition to the growing significance of third-party players in shaping the future of news, six stand out entering 2011:

The news industry is turning to executives from outside. The trend has a scattered history. The complex revenue equation of news — that it was better to serve the audience even to the irritation of advertisers that paid most of the bills — tended to trip up outsiders. It spelled the end, for instance, of Mark Willes at Times Mirror when he let advertisers dictate content. With the old revenue model broken, more companies are again looking to outsiders for leadership. One reason is new owners. Seven of the top 25 newspapers in America are now owned by hedge funds, which had virtually no role a few years ago. The age of publicly traded newspapers companies is winding down. And some of the new executives are blunt in their assessments. John Paton, the new head of Journal Register newspapers told a trade group in December: “We have had nearly 15 years to figure out the web and, as an industry, we newspaper people are no good at it.” A question is how much time these private equity owners will give struggling news operations to turn around. One of these publishers told PEJ privately that he believed he had two years.

Less progress has been made charging for news than predicted, but there are some signs of willingness to pay. The leading study on the subject finds that so far only about three dozen newspapers have moved to some kind of paid content on their websites. Of those, only 1% of users opted to pay. And some papers that moved large portions of content to subscription gave up the effort. A new survey released for this report suggests that under certain circumstances the prospects for charging for content could improve. If their local newspaper would otherwise perish, 23% of Americans said they would pay $5 a month for an online version. To date, however, even among early adopters only 10% of those who have downloaded local news apps paid for them (this doesn’t include apps for non-local news or other content). At the moment, the only news producers successfully charging for most of their content online are those selling financial information to elite audiences — the Financial Times is one, the Wall Street Journal is another, Bloomberg is a third — which means they are not a model that will likely work for general interest news.

If anything, the metrics of online news have become more confused, not less. Many believe that the economics of the web, and particularly online news, cannot really progress until the industry settles on how to measure audience. There is no consensus on what is the most useful measure of online traffic. Different rating agencies do not even agree on how to define a “unique visitor.” Does that denote different people or does the same person visiting a site from different computers get counted more than once? The numbers from one top rating agency, comScore, are in some cases double and even triple those of another, Nielsen. More audience research data exist about each user than ever before. Yet in addition to confusion about what it means, it is almost impossible get a full sense of consumer behavior — across sites, platforms, and devices. That leaves potential advertisers at a loss about how to connect the dots. In March 2011, three advertising trade groups, supported by other media associations, announced an initiative to improve and standardize confusing digital media metrics called Making Measurement Make Sense, but the task will not be easy.

Local news remains the vast untapped territory. Most traditional American media —and much of U.S. ad revenue – are local. The dynamics of that market online are still largely undefined. The potential, though, is clear. Already 40% of all Online Ad spending is local, up from 30% just a year earlier. But the market at the local level is different than nationally and requires different strategies, both in content creation and economics. Unlike national, at the local level, display advertising — the kind that news organizations rely on — is bigger than search, market researchers estimate. And the greatest local growth area last year was in highly targeted display ads that many innovators see as key to the future. Even Google, the king of search, sees display as “our next big business,” as Eric Schmidt, its CEO, told the New York Times in September.

The nature of local news content is also in many ways undefined. While local has been the area of greatest ferment for nonprofit startups, no one has yet cracked the code for how to produce local news effectively at a sustainable level. The first major concept in more traditional venues, the push toward so-called “hyperlocalism,” proved ill-conceived, expensive and insufficiently supported by ads. Yahoo’s four-year old local news and advertising consortium has shown some success for certain participants but less for others. There are some prominent local news aggregators such as Topix and Examiner.com, and now AOL has entered the field with local reporting through Patch. Whether national networks will overtake small local startups or local app networks will mix news with a variety of other local information, the terrain here remains in flux.

The new conventional wisdom is that the economic model for news will be made up of many smaller and more complex revenue sources than before. The old news economic model was fairly simple. Broadcast television depended on advertising. Newspapers on circulation revenue and a few basic advertising categories. Cable was split half from advertising and half from cable subscription fees. Online, most believe there will be many different kinds of revenue. This is because no one revenue source looks large enough and because money is divided among so many players. In the biggest new revenue experiment of 2010, the discount sales coupon business led by Groupon, revenue can be split three ways when newspapers are involved. On the iPad, Apple gets 30% of the subscription revenue and owns the audience data. On the Android system, Google takes 10%. News companies are trying to push back. One new effort involves online publishers starting their own ad exchanges, rather than having middlemen to do it for them. NBC, CBS and Forbes are among those launching their own, tired of sharing revenue and having third parties take their audience data.

The bailout of the auto industry helped with the media’s modest recovery in 2010. One overlooked dimension in the year past: a key source of renewed revenue in news in 2010 was the recovery in the auto industry, aided by the decision to lend federal money to save U.S. carmakers. Auto advertising jumped 77% in local television, 22% in radio and 17% in magazines. The other benefactor of the news industry, say experts, was the U.S. Supreme Court: Its Citizens United decision allowing corporations and unions to buy political ads for candidates helped boost political advertising spent on local television to an estimated $2.2 billion, a new high for a midterm campaign year.

Local news is going mobile. Nearly half of all American adults (47%) report that they get at least some local news and information on their cellphone or tablet computer.

What they seek out most on mobile platforms is information that is practical and in real time: 42% of mobile device owners report getting weather updates on their phones or tablets; 37% say they get material about restaurants or other local businesses. These consumers are less likely to use their mobile devices for news about local traffic, public transportation, general news alerts or to access retail coupons or discounts.

One of the newest forms of on-the-go local news consumption, mobile applications, are just beginning to take hold among mobile device owners.

Compared with other adults, these mobile local news consumers are younger, live in higher income households, are newer residents of their communities, live in nonrural areas, and tend to be parents of minor children. Adults who get local news and information on mobile devices are more likely than others to feel they can have on impact on their communities, more likely to use a variety of media platforms, feel more plugged into the media environment than they did a few years ago, and are more likely to use social media:

  • 35% of mobile local news consumers feel they can have a big impact on their community (vs. 27% of other adults)
  • 65% feel it is easier today than five years ago to keep up with information about their community (vs. 47% of nonmobile connectors)
  • 51% use six or more different sources or platforms monthly to get local news and information (vs. 21%)
  • 75% use social network sites (vs. 42%)
  • 15% use Twitter (vs. 4%)

Tablets and smartphones have also brought with them news applications or “apps.” One-quarter (24%) of mobile local news consumers report having an app that helps them get information or news about their local community. That equates to 13% of all device owners and 11% of the total American adult population. Thus while nearly 5 in 10 get local news on mobile devices, just 1 in 10 use apps to do so. Call it the app gap.

These mobile app users skew young and Hispanic. They are also much more active news consumers than other adults, using more sources regularly and “participating” in local news by doing such things as sharing or posting links to local stories, commenting on or tagging local news content, or contributing their own local content online.

Many news organizations are looking to mobile platforms to provide new ways to generate revenue in local markets. The survey suggests there is a long way to go before that happens. Currently, only 10% of adults who use mobile apps to connect to local news and information pay for those apps. This amounts to just 1% of all adults.

When it comes to payments for news more broadly, 36% of adults say they pay for local news content in some form – be it for their local print newspaper, for an app on their mobile device or for access to special content online. The vast majority of those who pay for local news, 31% in all, are paying for local print newspaper subscriptions and only a fraction are paying for apps or for access online to local material.

One question in the news industry is whether the willingness to pay for online content would grow if people faced the prospect of their local media not surviving otherwise. Pressed on the value of online access to their local newspaper, 23% of survey respondents say they would pay $5 a month to get full access to local newspaper content online. When asked if they would pay $10 per month, 18% of adults say yes. Both figures are substantially higher than the percentage of adults (5%) who currently pay for online local news content. Nonetheless, roughly three-quarters say they would not pay anything.

Asked the value of their local newspaper, respondents are divided. Just under a third (28%) say the loss of the local newspaper would have a major impact on their ability to keep up with local information. Another 30% say it would have a minor impact. But the plurality — 39% — say the loss of the newspaper would have no impact."

The constant and reliable readership and consumer of news has been broken and fragmented into many parts that are affected by the different emerging technologies, techniques, mediums and gizmos(including modes of reportage, and dissemination of new information data, affected by the viral soup and stream. The power of the internet, together with the new and constantly emerging/merging gizmos with their refined techniques, are affecting and effecting the readership and the consumers of the media and data, and forming/shaping them into anew and emerging consumer and decider of what news and information suits them or not, and in the process, they shape the news and information, news disseminatiogathering. and the consumer is informer, and the consumer is involved in receiving/recycling which the old agencies are churning out to them. Deciding what's news has taken on a new form and operation, and as the technologies evolve, so will the decision as to what news is be affected and reflected by the consumers and disseminators of the latter day computer/technological societies we now live in.

At the same time, We recall what Tom Rosenstiel and Amy Mitchell stated above:

'News organizations — old and new — still produce most of the content audiences consume. But each technological advance has added a new layer of complexity—and a new set of players—in connecting that content to consumers and advertisers.

'In the digital space, the organizations that produce the news increasingly rely on independent networks to sell their ads. They depend on aggregators (such as Google) and social networks (such as Facebook) to bring them a substantial portion of their audience. And now, as news consumption becomes more mobile, news companies must follow the rules of device makers (such as Apple) and software developers (Google again) to deliver their content. Each new platform often requires a new software program. And the new players take a share of the revenue and in many cases also control the audience data.

"That data may be the most important commodity of all. In a media world where consumers decide what news they want to get and how they want to get it, the future will belong to those who understand the public’s changing behavior and can target content and advertising to snugly fit the interests of each user. That knowledge — and the expertise in gathering it — increasingly resides with technology companies outside journalism.

"In the 20th century, the news media thrived by being the intermediary others needed to reach customers. In the 21st, increasingly there is a new intermediary: Software programmers, content aggregators and device makers control access to the public. The news industry, late to adapt and culturally more tied to content creation than engineering, finds itself more a follower than leader shaping its business."

This remains the mainstay of the business of news and information services, and this has adjusted according to the demands of the new and emerging media and audiences...

Lessons in Media Ecology: Strategies + Eulogies for Big Media

President Barack Obama channeled the finest orators of the Roman Forum and Chicago Machine in selecting his one-word, monosyllabic 2008 campaign tagline: Change. Everything changes: hairstyles, economic superpowers, and like everything else, how we g

President Barack Obama channeled the finest orators of the Roman Forum and Chicago Machine in selecting his one-word, monosyllabic 2008 campaign tagline: Change. Everything changes: hairstyles, economic superpowers, and like everything else, how we g

Understanding Media Ecology

It is at this juncture that we take an in-depth look into the Media Ecology's Archeological infrastructure and structure to enhance the discourse about these viral streaming ecologies. In this article the emergent paradigm of media ecologies is distinguished from the ‘actually existing’ media ecology emerging out of the work of McLuhan, Postman and the media ecology association. The appearance of Fuller’s book was understandably unsettling for members of the latter and certainly marks at least a profound rupture in the media ecological paradigm if not a total break.." (Godard)


We further learn from Gordard in this extensively cited piece below that:

"While Matthew Fuller’s book entitled Media Ecologies has had a considerable impact on research into new media, digital art, alternative media and other spheres, it still remains relatively little-known in mainstream media studies and contains great potential for further development in relation to many fields of media research.

Media Ecology is a term that has existed for some time at the peripheries of media studies and theories, and is notably associated with the celebrated media theorist Marshall McLuhan. There is, however, a certain perhaps necessary confusion around the deployment of the term ‘Media Ecologies’ in Fuller’s book, partly because of the differences in this deployment from the already existing field of research known as ‘Media Ecology’, a US-based post-McLuhan stream of media research of which the most well-known figure is undoubtedly Neil Postman.

The following essay will therefore touch upon these differences, before giving a different genealogy of Media Ecologies via the encounter between the rethinking of Ecology or rather Ecologies undertaken by Felix Guattari and the free radio movement in the 1970s, focusing especially on Radio Alice.

The Differences Between Fuller’s Media Ecologies and ‘Actually Existing’ Media Ecology

That the contrast between Media Ecologies the abovementioned school of Media Ecology is not some exercise in Derridean hair-splitting is made abundantly clear by reading the review of the book that was published in Afterimage entitled ‘Taking Issue’, by Lance Strate, who is a central participant in the media ecology movement. Strate quotes the old saying that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet and as a good McLuhanite feels compelled to reject its wisdom: ‘If, on the other hand, you believe that the medium is the message, and that a good name is better than riches, then you may understand my concern over the title of Matthew Fuller’s new book, Media Ecologies’ (Strate, 2005: 55).

- 3 -

Strate goes on to add that Fuller’s book has little to do with Media Ecology, for which he gives a useful history, stating that it came out of conversations between Marshall McLuhan, Eric Mcluhan and Neil Postman, dating back to 1967. He also points out that Fuller’s treatment of this tradition amounts to four pages of the introduction to Media Ecologies (2-5) and that Fuller fails to make any reference to any of its key texts. In many ways it is unsurprising that Strate would feel put out by Fuller’s book and feel the need to provide a corrective history of the term with which he has been working for some time.

His review makes abundantly clear how alien the book Media Ecologies is to this tendency and it is clear that it is coming from quite different theoretical sources and significantly operates within an equally different discursive universe. Beyond the quibbling over history is a real disagreement about media ecologies themselves that, as Fuller rightly points out, are treated by the media ecology tradition through an amalgam of humanism and technological determinism.

While the work of McLuhan can and has given rise to numerous possible interpretations ranging from a literary, anecdotal and metaphorical anthropocentrism to Friedrich Kittler’s radical machinic anti-humanism, the work of at least some of the media theorists associated with the media ecology school retreats from the more radical implications of McLuhan’s work into a type of liberal humanism, an operation that has both conceptual and political implications.

Consider, for example, the work of Neil Postman. In both Amusing Ourselves to Death (1987) and the more recent Technopoly (1993), Postman adopts a form of populist technophobia that only seems to maintain from McLuhan his anecdotal style and love of metaphor and whose only antidote to the Behemoth of technological domination seems to be a quite conservative notion of pedagogy. In other words, it is an approach to media that would be better characterised as pre rather than post-McLuhanite (in the art historical sense of pre-Raphaelite) in that the full co-implications of human beings and technology is treated in a monolithic, rather than in a complex way.

This is strangely reminiscent of the Frankfurt School culture industry model of mass culture, whose one-sided and somewhat paranoid account of mass media has been the subject of important critiques. I would not extend this criticism to all practitioners of ‘actually existing media ecology’, some of whom seem to be relatively insightful scholars of McLuhan and the other theorists who Fuller characterises as a ‘vivid set of resources’ (Fuller, 2005: 4). But the point I would like to make is that Fuller’s book is a much needed intervention into this field, which in some respects can be seen as so many footnotes to McLuhan’s original and still important insight that the medium is the message.

As opposed to both the humanist conservative environmentalism of the media ecology school, Kittler’s anti-humanist technological determinism and the creative industries invocation of information ecologies as a free market strategy, Fuller injects a much needed materialism, politics and complexity into the term media ecologies as he uses it:

The book asks: what are the different kinds of [material] qualities in media systems with their various and particular or shared rhythms, codes, politics, capacities, predispositions and drives, and how can these be said to mix, to interrelate and to produce patterns, dangers and potentials? Crucial to such an approach is an understanding that an attention to materiality is most fruitful where it is often deemed irrelevant, in the immaterial domains of electronic media. (2)

What is crucial in this passage is the emphasis on the materiality of the supposedly immaterial components of media systems, including digital ones, and the association of this with politics since this not only distinguishes media ecologies from media ecology but from a good deal of media and specifically new media theory as well, precisely by proposing a material politics of media. In fact this is really the key reason why there is such a distance between media ecologies and media ecology: whereas the latter is closer to environmentalism, that is, the consideration of media systems as parts of relatively stable environments for which normative ideas about human beings form the centre, ‘media ecologies’ is closer to ecological movements. As Fuller describes this difference:

Echoing the differences in life sciences and various Green political movements, ‘environmentalism’ possesses a sustaining vision of the human and wants to make the world safe for it. Such environmentalism also often suggests … a state of equilibrium … Ecologists focus more on dynamic systems in which any one part is always multiply connected, acting by virtue of these connections and always variable, so that it can be regarded as a pattern rather than simply an object. (4)

This ecological as opposed to environmental conception of media ecologies (and the plural is also essential here) is necessarily activist, intervening in established knowledges about media systems and tracking the radical dynamisms that constitute them, however stable they might appear to be. This goes some way to explaining why the subsequent chapters of the book have varying methodological approaches and are engaged with radically diverse objects ranging from a single piece of Net Art, ‘The Camera that Ate Itself’ (55-84) to the London pirate radio network (13-54) that is perhaps the most systematic and recognisable ‘application’ of the concept of media ecologies.

The second part of this essay will therefore switch from discussing what Media Ecologies is not, in other words the media ecology movement, to one key source for what it is, that is a radically material and political intervention into established approaches to media including that of media ecology that, as Fuller acknowledges, draws substantially on the work of Felix Guattari.

The Three Ecologies and the Free Radios

Fuller acknowledges Guattari as a key reference not only for rethinking ecology but also media ecologies in the following terms: ‘Guattari’s use of the term ecology is worth noting here, first, because, the stakes he assigns to media are rightly perceived as being profoundly political or ethico-aesthetic at all scales. Aligning such political processes with creative powers of invention that demand “laboratories of thought and experimentation for future forms of subjectivation” (Guattari’s words), also poses a demand for the inventive rigor with which life among media must be taken up’ (5).

At the risk of leaping ahead to the conclusion of this essay, I would argue that at the very least, Fuller’s book is a fine example of applying just such an experimental attitude and just such inventive rigor to the field of media in order to, in Deleuzian terms, create a new concept of media ecologies, while nevertheless drawing productively but never slavishly on existing resources such as Guattari’s rethinking of ecologies as part of what he calls ecosophy.

Guattari was increasingly drawn towards ecology in his later writings, most explicitly in his essay The Three Ecologies which begins with the often quoted phrase from Gregory Bateson: ‘There is an ecology of bad ideas, just as there is an ecology of weeds’ (Guattari, 2000: 19). In the context of this essay, one might also be tempted to add the hypothesis of an ecology of bad media systems.

The point is, first of all, that ecology should not be limited to the physical systems studied by environmental science but ought to include (at least) two other levels, namely a social ecology of social relations and a mental ecology of subjectivity or rather the production of subjectivity. Guattari was well aware of the suspicion that tended to be applied to this third level whether from the ‘hard’ sciences or ‘hard’ politics, but for him this dimension is key to any truly ecosophic project. His treatment of these objections to taking seriously the incorporeal but material dimension of mental ecology in which sensibilities, intelligence and processes of desire take place, what Guattari referred to as vectors of subjectivation, is worth quoting in full:

I know that it remains difficult to get people to listen to such arguments, especially in those contexts where there is still a suspicion—or even an automatic rejection—of any specific reference to subjectivity. In the name of the primacy of infrastructures, of structures or systems, subjectivity still gets bad press, and those who deal with it, in practice or theory, will generally only approach it at arm’s length, with infinite precautions, taking care never to move too far away from pseudo-scientific paradigms, preferably borrowed from the hard sciences: thermodynamics, topology, information theory, systems theory, linguistics etc. … In this context, it appears crucial to me that we rid ourselves of all scientistic references and metaphors in order to forge new paradigms that are instead ethico-aesthetic in inspiration. (Guattari, 2000: 25)

Among other things, this dimension of subjectivation is crucial as it is the actual site where politics takes place, where new modes of sensibility and intelligence can be experimented with, mutate and transform themselves. No amount of dire warnings, backed up as they may be by hard empirical evidence, about such phenomena as global warming, for example, are ever going to result in the slightest political change without addressing these vectors of subjectivation, especially if they are merely imposed as part of a larger culture of fear and the cultivation of toxic and paranoid forms of subjectivity. Subjective ecologies and social ecologies are indissociable from physical environments and exist in complex relations of co-determination which any truly media ecological or even ecological practice needs to take fully into account.

But Guattari’s rethinking of ecology is not merely relevant for this reason but also because it was itself intimately involved with a rethinking of media themselves, which function for Guattari as just such vectors of subjectivation and perhaps the most important ones in contemporary societies.

As I stated earlier, Guattari was profoundly affected by his encounter with and participation in the Free Radio movements in Italy and France. In The Three Ecologies as in elsewhere in his work this encounter forms the basis for thinking what he referred to as the post-media era that he saw as potentially emerging from the rubble of mass media society: ‘An essential programmatic point for social ecology will be to encourage capitalist societies to make the transitions from the mass-media age to a post-media era in which the media will be appropriated by a multitude of subject-groups capable of directing its resingularisation.

Despite the seeming impossibility of such an eventuality, the current unparalleled level of media alienation is in no way an inherent necessity. It seems to me that media fatalism equates to a misunderstanding of a number of factors’ (Guattari, 2000: 40). The most relevant of these factors for our purposes is the third one Guattari mentions which is ‘the technological evolution of the media and its possible use for non capitalist goals, in particular through a reduction in costs and through miniaturisation’ (41).

From a contemporary perspective it is hard not to see everything from digital video to activist cybercultural projects such as Indymedia to digital networks in general to the various forms of social software as some kind of technological realisation of this call for a post-media era, that seems to have become at once less impossible and less utopian.

However, as I have argued elsewhere, this would be a far too technologically determinist understanding of Guattari’s concept of ecologies that pays too little attention to the crucial domain of mental ecology. In fact today’s miniaturised media are highly unstable ecologies where there is a clash of imcompossible forces and unpredictable vectors, ranging from the reformulation of capitalism as cognitive to the experimentation with new mediatised modes of subjectivation. What this shows is that far from being utopian or too abstract, Guattari’s conception of a post-media era is at once perfectly real and in need of further complexification, which is just what Fuller’s concept and practice of media ecologies sets out to do.

Therefore rather than examining the contemporary media ecologies referred to above, the last part of this essay will focus in more detail on the Free Radio movement of the 1970s, specifically to bring out its impact on Guattari’s concept of a post-media era that is in turn influential on Fuller’s book. Nevertheless, much of what Guattari was able to discern in free radio stations like Radio Alice is of great relevance to the media ecologies of contemporary new media forms, as Fuller’s account of London pirate radio in Media Ecologies amply demonstrates.

Millions and Millions of Alice’s in Power

In the late 1970s Guattari devoted several texts to the phenomena of popular free radio and especially that taking place in Italy. ‘Why Italy’ (Guattari, 1996a: 79-84) is the essay that gives the clearest indication of why he considered this such an important phenomenon. First of all there is the concrete context, that he had been asked to introduce the French translation of Alice é il diavolo, principal documentation of this radio station and its political trajectory, interested him since it is a radio of an explicitly situationist and Deleuzo-Guattarian inspiration, thereby constituting an auto-referential feedback loop between his own rhizomatic thought and media subversion.

More importantly, Radio Alice and its conflict with the apparatus’s of state control that eventually resulted in a massive wave of repression, demonstrates very clearly how the media are a key site of struggle over the contemporary production of subjectivity; in Guattari’s terms, despite its apparent economic and technological backwardness at that time, Italy was the future of England, France and Germany. The molar aspect of this is that the polarising of politics into the mutually reinforcing duality of state violence and terrorism was developed first of all in Italy before being applied elsewhere and could be seen as an embryonic of the global economy of fear under which we live today. However, what is behind this polarisation was the emergence of a new regime of consensus or control in which all previously existing forms of resistance such as trade unions or the communist party would be tolerated provided they fit into the overall regime of consensual control, for which they provide very useful tools for subjective reterritorialisation: the historic compromise between the Italian communist party and the social democrats being just one example of this process.

Guattari does not really go into detail about the specific political history of the Italian far left which had its roots in the 1960s development of Operaismo or ‘Workerism’, then developed via the interactions between an increasing radicalisation of both proletarian forms of action and workerist theory, the emergence of the student movement in the late 1960s, accompanied by the political expression of new subjectivities such as the feminist and gay liberation movements and ultimately the emergence of what became known as Autonomia or the ‘area of autonomy.’

According to Guattari, the groups associated with this tendency and that still advocated violent rupture with the consensus embodied in the historic compromise would be hunted down and eliminated, with no pretence of liberal models of justice or legal rights, which was indeed what happened first in Italy and then in Germany. But Guattari was less interested in terror or state repression, while considering them important issues demanding responses on a ‘molar’ or representational political level.

His primary interest in this essay is in the molecular revolution that was taking place around Radio Alice, one that the emerging consensual state apparatus was not able to tolerate. For Guattari, this is not a mere shift away from traditional apparatus’s of struggle such as the communist party which have become completely compromised with the state in favour of new micropolitical groupings such as gay liberation or the women’s movement; these new groupings are no less susceptible to becoming reterritorialisations, finding their institutional place in the manufacture of consensus.

As he puts it, ‘there is a miniaturisation of forms of expression and of forms of struggle, but no reason to think that one can arrange to meet at a specific place for the molecular revolution to happen’ (82). While Guattari does not state it explicitly here, this corresponds very closely to the rejection of even micropolitical identities or political forms such as organisational Autonomia enacted by Radio Alice; it was not just a question of giving space for excluded and marginalised subjects such as the young, homosexuals, women, the unemployed and others to speak but rather of generating a collective assemblage of enunciation allowing for the maximum of transversal connections and subjective transformations between all these emergent subjectivities.

Guattari refers toAlice as ‘a generalised revolution, a conjunction of sexual, relational, aesthetic and scientific revolutions all making cross-overs, markings and currents of deterritorialisation’ (84). Rather than pointing to a new revolutionary form, the experimentation of Radio Alicewas a machine for the production of new forms of sensibility and sociability, the very intangible qualities constitutive of both the molecular revolution and the post-media era.

Guattari is somewhat more specific about these practices in the essay ‘Popular Free Radio’ (1996a: -78). In this essay he poses instead of the question of why Italy, that of why radio? Why not Super 8 film or cable TV? The answer, for Guattari is not technical but rather micropolitical. If media in their dominant usages can be seen as massive machines for the production of consensual subjectivity, then it is those media that can constitute an alternate production of subjectivity that will be the most amenable to a post-media transformation.

Radio at this time had not only the technical advantage of lightweight replaceable technology but more importantly was able to be used to create a self-referential feedback loop of political communication between producers and receivers, tending towards breaking down the distinctions between them: ‘the totality of technical and human means available must permit the establishment of a veritable feedback loop between the auditors and the broadcast team: whether through direct intervention by phone, through opening studio doors, through interviews or programmes based on listener made cassettes’ (75).

Again the experience of Radio Alice was exemplary in this regard: ‘We realise [with Radio Alice] that radio constitutes but one central element of a whole range of communication means, from informal encounters in the Piazza Maggiore, to the daily newspaper—via billboards, mural paintings, posters, leaflets, meetings, community activities, festivals etc’ (75). In other words, it is less the question of the subversive use of a technical media form than the generation of a media or rather post-media ecology, that is, a self-referential network for an unforeseen processual production of subjectivity amplifying itself via technical means.

As Guattari points out this is miles away both from ideas of local or community radio in which groups should have the possibility on radio to represent their particular interests and from conventional ideas of political radio in which radio should be used as a megaphone for mobilising the masses. In contrast, on Alice, serious political discussions were likely to be interrupted by violently contradictory, humorous and poetico-delirious interventions and this was central to its unique micropolitics.

It was even further removed from any modernist concern with perfecting either the technical form of radio (for example through concerns with perfecting sound quality) or its contents (the development and perfection of standard formats); listening to the tapes of Radio Alice is more than enough to convince about this last point. All of these other approaches to alternative radio, that is the local, the militant and the modernist, share an emphasis on specialisation; broadcasters set themselves up as specialists of contacts, culture and expression yet for Guattari, what really counts in popular free radio are ‘collective assemblages of enunciation that absorb or traverse specialities’ (75).

What this meant in practice was that on Alice an extreme heterogeneity of materials was broadcast tending towards a delirious flow of ‘music, news, blossoming gardens, rants, inventions, … messages, massages, lies’ (Berardi et al 2009: 82). Innovations of Radio Aliceincluded the instantaneous reporting of news in the form of callers telephoning directly into the radio broadcasts from demonstrations and other political events and the lack of centralised control over what voices or ideas could be expressed, a philosophy of openness that would later be taken up by Independent Media Centres in the digital era.

This meant in practice that calls denouncing the radio producers as ‘filthy communists’ coexisted with calls to support a current demonstration to the caller who rang up just to declare that whoever stole his bicycle is a ‘son of a bitch’ (82). In short there was a delirious flow of expression that disturbed the social order less through its content than by opening up channels of expression and feedback between this free expression and current political events culminating in the radio becoming a key actor in the explosive political events of Bologna in March, 1977, at the climax of which the radio station itself was targeted by the police and several of its key animators arrested.

What this type of radio achieved most of all was the short-circuiting of representation in both the aesthetic sense of representing social realities and in the political sense of the delegate or the authorised spokesperson, in favour of generating a space of direct communication in which, as Guattari put it, ‘it is as if, in some immense, permanent meeting place—given the size of the potential audience—anyone, even the most hesitant, even those with the weakest voices, suddenly have the possibility of expressing themselves whenever they wanted. In these conditions, one can expect certain truths to find a new matter of expression’ (76). In this sense, Radio Alice was also an intervention into the language of media; the transformation from what Guattari calls the police languages of the managerial milieu and the University to a direct language of desire:

"Direct speech, living speech, fu