Sometimes you wonder why the mainstream media (I hesitate to use the term MSM, but that's quite catchy, isn't it?) are going down the toilet at a vast rate of knots. This article on Press Gazette gives a little clue, re the Dunblane apology from the Sunday Express.
As I mentioned yesterday, there were lots of reasons why the Express said sorry. I know that not everyone was in favour of targeting advertisers, but I don't see what's wrong with asking people what they feel about the juxtaposition of their products with really quite poisonous stuff. I've done it before myself when some of the stuff on the Express's website was horrible and racist.
Do Press Gazette mention bloggers like Tim Ireland, Adam Bienkov, Justin McKeating, Graham Linehan, the 10,000-signature petition against the Sunday Express, the thousands of people who joined the Facebook group in protest, all the other blogs who pitched in to the discussion and created a momentum of pressure against the Scottish Sunday Express?
About 60 people complained to the Press Complaints Commission about the paper's 8 March splash, headlined: "Anniversary shame of Dunblane survivors: internet boasts of sex, drink and violence as youngsters hit 18".
Oh I see, it was those 60 people who complained, wasn't it? Even though if none of those people was directly affected (ie if they weren't the kids themselves) the complaints would have been instantly thrown out on a technicality. The Express must have run away scared at the thought of the industry-run toothless Press Complaints Commission having the power to do... er, nothing whatsoever. Yes, that must have been it.
See, this is why the MSM are falling off a cliff. I get the impression they really don't actually understand things. They live in their own cosy little world where it's forever the 1980s. The print unions have just been smashed and you can make 30% profit on turnover for ever and ever, because there's no competition from anyone else, because you've got the keys to the world and no-one else can afford to publish anything.
It's the desperate battle to cling on to those profit margins that's killing the industry. No-one's smacked these companies round the side of the head and said "Look pal, you're not going to make that kind of money any more. The good times are over." No-one's done it because that's taboo. Instead of trying to be realistic, they keep cutting jobs.
You might expect someone like me, who spends most of his spare time criticising the Mail's output, to be pleased at the news today that they're cutting 1,000 jobs. Not at all. If they do it, the others will do it, and the circle will carry on. Things are bad enough as they are, with desk-chained journos churning out dozens of stories a day, largely copied and pasted from unreliable press releases that never get checked for accuracy; it's only going to get worse if this continues. That's not good for journalism and it's not good for a free press. Corporate greed is killing mainstream journalism off.
And then what will we have left? No Daily Mail? You might think I'd be delighted, but I'm not. I'd rather we had a decent, accurate, honest and fair Daily Mail than none at all. At the moment we have neither, but I don't want to see them go under. I don't want to see any of these companies fall apart; and besides, it won't be the Mail who goes first - it could be the Independent, who offer a liberal-left (generally) view of the world. That's another of those voices gone, and even fewer remaining in the mainstream.
Blogs and other sources are filling the void left by quality journalism to some degree, but there's something that makes me wish the whole MSM would wake up and understand what's going on. People deserve more than a fuzzy logic world of information; they should be able to trust journalists to report things accurately and fairly. As I'm often saddened to tell you on here, that isn't always the case, and it appears to be the case less and less often.
Where do we go from here? Are the MSM doomed? And if so, should we care? I do care and I want them to stay. I want them to be good, as well. But one thing at a time.