Saturday, August 4, 2012

Paywalls are GATED COMMUNITIES : 1% of the news from 1% of the people . Isn't it time you switched ?

Fewer and fewer people, the young particularly, are willing to spend a thousand plus dollars a year to get the bottom 1% of the news from the top 1% of the people.

Paywalls are, in fact, nothing new : that $1 a day for a newspaper , the $8 news magazine, or the $80 a month to the cable giant to get CNN and MBCN news can really add up : many middle class and working class homes pay plus or minus a $1000 a year to get their news and entertainment fix.

So who voluntarily pays billionaires a thousand plus dollars each year to be fed the lies by the billionaires' minions in newspapers, magazines and cable TV ?

Well the old do - out of force of habit. There was no alternative when they were growing up and if you didn't pay the tariff, you got no news at all.

Older people are even willing to pay THREE times to get TV news from their government broadcaster : once in taxes or license, once again for viewing it on cable and yet again for mental cost of viewing all the inane ads that fill public broadcasters' TV networks.

Personally, I refuse to do so and wish nothing more than to see Canada's glossed-up, hyped-up  CBC TV disappear today, if not sooner.

By contrast, CBC Radio is modest in its glitter, free of ads, available without cable fees and well worth the small amount of our taxes that funds it.

But in truth , I get my news mostly via unpaid, volunteer, amateur, bloggers on the blog-o-sphere.

Where do they get it ?

The same place the tree-killer newspapers have always got it : from the press releases of all those wanting their story told more widely than their own direct efforts can achieve . That means just about everybody : from the local garden club to Exxon-Mobil.

Example : my tax dollars now subsidizes an ever growing PR department at my local oh so friendly police and fire departments.

Why ? Well , since commercial radio stations don't really have news departments anymore and the remaining reporter ranks at my local TV station and newspaper are steadily getting smaller, the police feel their side of the crime story isn't being reported.

One of the few sacred budgets at hard pressed local governments are those for fire and police, because they are traditionally so astute at seeing that their efforts are omnipresent in the news.

Formerly, they could rely on "capturing" the reporters assigned to the regular police beat : all police successes were touted and all police failures discreetly buried.

But today the real reporters are dedicated amateur bloggers and they don't depend for a living on the police feeding them friendly "scoops" and exclusive backgrounders --- instead they raise awkward questions about the releasing of lists of unsolved murders  and the like.

Today, we see the potential of getting 99%, not 1%, of the news and reality out there.

"99% of the news, from the 99% , for the 99%".

Panicked , police forces are spinning their PR output to any and all media looking outlets : and that includes bloggers with just smart phones as well as fossil media with their acres of soon-to-be-rusting "Big Iron" printing presses.

So when - and not if - traditional media disappears, we will still get lots of news: PR hacks will spin their charm and an universe of journal-ists that get their bumpf will either swallow the story wholesale or tear it apart limb from limb, just as the tree-killer press always used to do.

Life will go on, obla dee obla da ....

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