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  • Clive 1:55 pm on January 15, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: democracy, , , ,   

    ‘Trust’ in offline/online media 

    Trustworthiness in the Fourth and Fifth Estates by Richard Collins

    International Journal of Communication 2 (2009), 61-86

    • Discusses ‘trust’ in sociological literature and links to discussions of social capital
    • Examines trust and the mainstream media/How trustworthy is the media?
    • Looks at the ways a dialogic, web 2.o media landscape can meet criteria of trustworthyness
    • Gives examples of such media in the UK

    Useful article, good links and bibliography. But doesn’t have the insiders bite of Nick Davies.

  • Clive 11:52 am on January 13, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , democracy   

    Flat Earth News – Nick Davies 

    Flat Earth News

    Flat Earth News

    This is a relentless, detailed, investigation into why and how the ‘mass production of ignorance’ has been created in/by traditional media over the past thirty years.  The main findings:

    1. Corporations have taken over the newspaper and broadcasting industry. They have cut staff, increased their output, restricted the flow of news arriving in the newsroom by destroying local frontline reporting.

    2. Journalists rely on a tiny number of wire agencies for national and international news. Those agencies have themselves followed the corporate ethic and dismantling of fact checking journalism.

    3. News is created and disseminated in an echo-chamber. Everyone monitors and mirrors the output of everyone else – consensus news wins out – fact checking is relegated to a luxury activitiy.

    4. The PR machine is overtaking journalism as the source of ‘news’. PR acts for commercial and political groups; its interest lies principally in the manipulation/manufacture of news serving these groups.

    What we are looking at here is a global collapse of information-gathering and truth-telling. And that leaves us in a kind of knowledge chaos, where the very subject matter of global debate is shifted from the essential to the arbitrary; where government policy, cultural values, widespread assumptions, declarations of war and attempts at peace all turn out to be poisoned by distortion; where ignorance is accepted as knowledge and falsehood is accepted as truth. (154)

  • Clive 4:46 pm on January 12, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , democracy, , ,   

    Prometheus Wired – Darin Barney 

    ‘a meditation upon the economic, ontological,
    and political conditions necessary for democratic self-government, the failure of the modern
    technological world to meet those conditions, and the likelihood that networks, as a technology,
    will perpetuate rather than alleviate that failure (268).’

    Barney’s explicit goal is to debunk those who have been preaching about the innately prodemocratic, nonhierarchical, chaotic infrastructure of the Internet. He contends that the new computer networks are producing greater alienation among workers and greater mastery over citizens.

    The result of this new information and communication technology has not been to free and  empower ordinary people but to tighten the screws and make their global economic and political rulers richer and less visible than ever before.

    Insofar as they bolster the already formidable control of capital over the means of power, computer networks are an essentially conservative, not revolutionary, technology—conservative, that is, of the prevailing liberal and capitalist order (p. 188).

    If citizens struggle to gain power in the capitalist or quasi-capitalist societies they are presently living in how are they likely to gain more with a network technology that further alienates and disaggregates them?

    The control mechanism at the hear of network technology is for Barney anathema to democracy.

    It’s a powerful treatise especially in its use of Heidegger and Marx to marshall arguments from other technological periods and political philosophy. The same holds true today according to Barney but simply to perfect capitalism in a friction-free way.

    The question to be asked of his thesis though is whether, in the light of this perfection of capitalism, democracy can renew itself and propose new forms that can harness the potential for a more positive view of communication technologies to enhance democratic processes. Despite all the activism/hacktivism and online experimentation however, the jury is still out.

  • Clive 11:52 am on December 30, 2008 Permalink
    Tags: , democracy, ,   

    Media Research from Cardiff School of Journalism 

    The Quality and Independence of British Journalism

    Source: Cardiff School of Journalism, Justin Lewis, Bob Franklin, Andrew Williams, James Thomas, Nick Mosdell

    Download research file (573K)


    Report by Cardiff University’s School of Journalism analysing the quantity of public relations material and news agency copy within news output, measuring the changing number of journalists employed by major news organisations, and illustrating the role of PR in news based on three case studies.

    The key findings are that:

    • Journalists are producing more copy: ‘While the number of journalists in the national press has remained fairly static, they now produce three times as much copy as they did twenty years ago’
    • A majority of the output is based on news agency copy or public relations material: ‘60% of press articles and 34% of broadcast stories come wholly or mainly’ from either PR material or news agency copy
    • ‘The most PR influenced topic was health, followed closely by consumer/business news and entertainment/sport’

    The statistics regarding the use of PR material were based on an analysis of 2,207 stories from five national newspapers. 71% of these were ‘standard news articles’, most of the rest news in briefs. The broadcast analysis was based on 402 TV news items.

  • Clive 5:04 pm on December 9, 2008 Permalink
    Tags: democracy, , media,   

    The Media in Castro’s Cuba 

    Chapter 8: The Media in Cuba Juan Orlando Perez

    Good potted, selective history of Cuban journalism outlining the signficant events that lead to the status quo of journalism in Cuba today.

    • Autumn 1959 the coletillas in Diario de la Marina
    • ‘Operation Truth’ that invited 380 journalists to witness the trials of those responsible for crimes under Batista’s military rule
    • The definition of journalism by Castro on 27th June 1959
    • The flight of media owners to Miami
    • The nationalisation and monolopistic control of the media by the government
    • The establishment of the rules of engagement in Castro’s speech in 1961 during a debate between ICAIC and Revolucion (‘Inside Revolution, everything; against the Revolution, nothing’)
    • The disbandonmnet of Revolucion and the establishment of UNEAC in1961 reduced the spaces for dissent and restricted freedom of expression
    • The rise and fall of various publication over three decades at the politial whim of the government
    • The emergence of ‘threatened niches of relative plurality’ (121) such as ICAIC which provide a control valve, a second tier of public communication that can co-opt the threat of dissidence but which clearly remain in the control of the government
    • The modeling of the media system in a Soviet, authoritarian, hierarchical style where the media is seen as an instrument of ideology. The state press, in Granma and Juventud Rebelde, micro-managed by the Ideological Department of the Central Committee) and local papers, are normative – presenting a selection of the news most advantagous to the defence of the ‘Revolution’ i.e., of government policy and ideology.

    ‘The episode that most clearly shows the reluctance (or chronic poilitcal incapability) of the Cuban media to transcend the myths of the official propaganda and accept dissent, took place in May 2002, when former US president James Carter visited Havana. [He], during a speech at the University of Havana broadcast live on television, mentioned the Varela project, an11,000-signature petition to the National Assembly calling for free elections. The ex-president asked the Cuban authorities to publish the Varela Project and allow the public to discuss it. The next day, Granma and Juventud Rebelde, neither of which had previously mentioned the Varela Project, managed to report Carter’s speech omitting the request. The silence of the Cuban press became itself an international story and after two days Granma surrendered and published the entire speech.’ (128)

    • The Varela Project was never mentioned again. The National Assembly rejected the petition a few days after Carter left and proclaimed socialism irrevocable.
    • Crisis in the 1990s – Cuban print media reduced 58% of its total print copies
    • Exodus of journalists
    • 2003 ‘Black Spring’
    • ‘La Batalla de ideas’
    • la Mesa Redonda
    • Slow recovery of print media
    • The rising use of satellites and the internet

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