Monday, May 12, 2008
New Media as a Counter to Old Media Concentration
My previous posts have looked at newspapers’ decline in the face of Internet competition and have bemoaned the consequent impairment of the press’s ability to serve as a vibrant fourth estate. Here I present the other side of the coin. I argue that new media, including search engine aggregators like Google News and, indeed, peer-to-peer file swapping networks, perform a valuable First Amendment function of loosening media conglomerates’ hold and providing opportunities for a more diverse range of speakers to reach an audience. I point not just to the institutional press, but the news and entertainment media as a whole.
Posted 4:42 PM by Neil Netanel [link]
We all have the same 24/7 time limitations on reading, listening, watching, writing, and otherwise communicating, by the various media, subject to variations of health, age, sleep, eating, bathing, interests, etc. So how does one sift through the available and ever growing information flow from newspapers, other print media, TV, cable, Internet, etc, to obtain meaningful information? We may rely upon certain newspapers, magazines, Internet sources, but these may reflect our biases. So perhaps it is like watching a ping-pong match, going back and forth between the old media and the new media. Information overload means a lot of balls in the air, like when lottery numbers are drawn - the luck of the draw.
The post provides an excellent view of the abstract dynamic of capital in media. One of the changes I am waiting to observe in internet search algorithms would be a way to delinearize our options to scan found document summaries. So, when a Google search finds 5,000 articles responsive to our search string, we would have more options than clicking through 500 screens of summaries for relevant articles, say, by letting us jump instantly to the page summarizing documents 4500-4550. There is some excellent legal and historical research online now, but the searchengines have yet to devise creative new ways to texturize our browsing. My preferences as a visitor rather than employee of such companies is to let them develop their own corporate character without input, yet, reinventing companies is fun work sometimes. I was surprised to see Microsoft relax its interest in Yahoo recently; perhaps MS has its own fallback plans for other ways to invest.
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