Be careful what you wish for

The doom and gloom around the failing global economic climate continues to gather pace and with news that the Tribune Company (home of the L.A. Times and the Chicago Cubs among others) has filed for bankruptcy with a debt of (cough) $12 Billion it appears that the media industry has now moved front and centre with the car makers.

This will all be ‘grist to the mill’ for the social media ‘angels of death’ no doubt, but we should really be very careful what we wish for.

Andrew Sullivan had a thoughtful piece in the UK Sunday Times at the weekend looking at the rise of social media and the issues facing traditional media:

The terrifying problem is that a one-man blog cannot begin to do the necessary labour-intensive, skilled reporting that a good newspaper sponsors and pioneers. A world in which reporting becomes even more minimal and opinion gets even more vacuous and unending is not a healthy one for a democracy.

This is exactly the issue.  Trusting blogs, Twitter and Social networks to drive the news agenda is an appalling vista. (I don’t need any wisecracks on that one folks… no seriously 🙂 )

We need a strong media, because the media serves an incredibly important and useful purpose for society. While these are clearly challenging times, I don’t actually believe that the demise of traditional media is as rapid as the evangelists of doom would have you believe. 

We are seeing many media houses evolving and building new business models.  I’m not sure that consumers want to have to gather their own news.

Of course there are some fabulous writers online and I’d expect more to emerge, but there’s also a lot of myopic twaddle being peddled online by self-styled, self-important “experts”.

I don’t think anyone wants that to replace “traditional” media.

Well I don’t.