Monday, November 28, 2016

Editor Brand Dissonance Update

Possibly the Guardian, more than most of Fleet Street , is moving online to a globalised future. (The Mail is outside scope of this post, their online is a bit of a sideshow at least a bit different, not really trying to continue the same journalism values imho).

Trouble is that reading the print version is doing less and less to communicate what the online offer is about or how the reader is supposed to fit with it. Recently I mostly find writing about fake news on Facebook, dangers of mega companies, threats to educationa and the novel. Maybe it is just me but here are a few examples.

 It’s worrying that our young seem distracted and often depressed, and sad for those of us who have invested so much of our belief and our effort in print technology, that it – and the modes of being associated with it – appear to be in decline.

Will Self  Review Saturday

I’m also worried about how we use social media. The so-called neutral platforms facilitate hate against women, racism and homophobia, and they may have put Trump in the White House as well. It may not be the platform itself, but the way in which it favours those outside the conventional media establishment and its notions of balance. 

Rachel Holmes Monday

On Sunday John McNaughton put aside the ideas around the "netizen" or web "utopia". Things are very worrying.

What I cannot make out is what the Guardian Media Group is doing online. I still come across the website through Twitter links. But the dissonance comes about by comparing the print version. Is there a parallel universe of editorial where the web is more or less ok? Can't find it. What are the numbers on print sales? My guess is that the weekday print will vanish during 2017. 50 % confidence. Well enough confidence that it will be under discussion during the year and / or related events will actually occur.

According to Will Self "the age of bi-directional digital media only properly dates... from the inception of wireless broadband in the early 2000s" . However John McNaughton mentions earlier dates - "In the first decade after the internet we use today was switched on, in January 1983, cyberspace was a brave new world – a glorious sandpit for geeks and computer science researchers. "

More later on various dates. Will Self is closer to the Cluetrain Manifesto and the start of Guardian Unlimited Talk. This was actual social media, closed down by the Guardian without warning and without any option for readers to recover their own content. The facts are now obscure in any story told by Guardian staff. I cannot imagine any social media company doing such a thing. The Guardian editorial group must believe that their own content is the crucial bit. The conversation matters not. My guess is that things have now got worse. Much of the opinion copy is knocking online. How can it fit with other social media? Any numbers on how the audience finds the website? From the print version I guess the readers are just in a rush to unplug, if they find the argument convincing.

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