Monday, July 11, 2011

News of the World, News International and the so called clean up

The Guardian has been extraordinary in its coverage of the NOW story especially given that it has seen the story escalate to a crisis for News International and the Murdoch family. 


Former Labour Member of Parliament and policy maker Peter Mandelson published a well considered piece in The Guardian on July 11, suggesting five ways to avoid what I have described as proletarianization. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/11/fear-labour-media-reform-pcc


He offers a variety of standard managerial solutions, which any established white male would be expected to support. Then he adds the truth that will make the entire edifice of contemporary media obsolete.  
  
"Fifth, digitise the process. Technology has shone a much brighter light on the nooks and crannies of public life. Public bodies should be much more open about media inquiries. Media organisations should be obliged to publish online the extent to which they check stories and the full response they receive, including whole email trails if appropriate. Articles that are subject to complaints should be clearly flagged on newspaper websites. If the process of scrutiny becomes more visible and easy to follow, fact-checking and reporting will quickly improve. ...
Utilising technology to create greater transparency and using a system of newspaper fines when pre-publication intervention has failed will give the public greater confidence."


Proletarianization theory suggests that it is precisely in the digital - the internet - that the challenge exists. While shining more light on the situation as Mandelson suggests, the situation will become more intensified, more outrageous to established tastes and standards of decency and ultimately rapidly move towards its own demise. Yes there will be scrutiny, but I suspect you don't want this kind of scrutiny where old standards like privacy cease to exist.


Mandelson's suggestions for reform indicate that he does not get it. Applying analogue policy ideas to the digital domain is like applying a horse analogy to the space shuttle.


 Welcome to the internet.