Monday, December 31, 2018
Why news could go back to becoming hyper-partisan
Derek Thompson has a provocative piece in The Atlantic, “The Media’s Post-Advertising Future Is also its Past”, with the byline “Why the news is going back to the 19th Century”.
Thompson goes through a variety of experiments that media keeps trying to stay afloat. He then notes that newspapers got started in the nineteenth century as a way to advance partisan political views.
The notion of journalistic objectivity didn’t come along until advertising drove away the “party press”. That comment is relevant personally today. As a “citizen journalist” (as I call myself in retirement) I resist people begging me to support their narrow political interests, like I want to be above that. But that attitude on my part causes further resentment, especially among identarian fringes on the Left and sometimes alt-right.
At a recent conference sponsored by Citizens for Democracy and Technology, Ethan Zuckerman had noted how newspapers had gotten started in the US as a way to send “letters” because the US Post Office was so restrictive and expensive.
The idea of patronage itself is “controversial” and tends to complicate the issue of content moderation for crowdfunding sites like Patreon (although there are other issues like payment processors).
This article would bring up my idea of consolidated paywalls (Oct. 24). It’s also useful to talk about the EU idea of a link tax.