« Murdoch calls it what it is: a revolution | Main | The Sun leap-frogs posh rivals in UK papers' social media arms race »


A better, bitter Butterworth puts his knife in

A week after he warned against attitudes of "protectionism" in old media at a conference in London, Reuters CEO, Tom Glocer has been holding forth on the future of the news media again:

...the newspaper is a much less good advertising medium than the digital media. You can only serve up flat banner ads rather than target and personalise ads and follow through to purchase. We already see this with Google ads and the move of classified advertising online. So my belief is that newspapers will survive, but not grow. And I do expect further consolidation

This time he was giving his opinions online in a debate on the FT website with blog-sceptic and arch-protectionist, Trevor Butterworth. They were joined by Roger Parry of Open Channel.

Mr Butterworth, who braved a brief blog-based discussion around his sceptical assessment of blogging in the FT a few weeks ago, delivered a few more sniffy asides at bloggers in the session, including:

The “collective intelligence” of the blogosphere is nothing more than a virtual Maginot Line against bad information, which often begins in the mainstream press and, thanks to the immediate parasitical nature of blogging, invades and permanently occupies the Internet.

...I note the latest Project for Excellence in Journalism study discovered that just five percent of blogs posted original content on a daily basis. It’s difficult to say how useful or interesting this content was, but I’ll take another stab at the blogosphere and say, in the main, not much.

I'll say it loud and say it proud: though I don't agree with Mr Butterworth completely I am a fan. We need rigour and scepticism in analyses of social media. We need the difficult questions asked if we are to avoid being deafened by echo-chamber positivity and hope for the potential of the medium.

My initial retort to Mr Butterworth is: calm down, dear, its only a revolution. But revolutions are ultimately not about "either or", professional or amateur, blog, myspace and podcast or newspaper, magazine and radio station. Think of it as a dialectic: mainstream media (hypothesis) vs. social media (antithesis). You wouldn't want to back either as the future, you'd want to start thinking about what the connected media (synthesis) outcome would be.

Mr Glocer's thinking and ventures like the excellent rolling blog of commentary at the Guardian, Comment is Free are more on the money, then, than Mr Butterworth's rampant, willful protectionism. Like I said, I like his attack-dog of the media establishment role: but he's wrong.

technorati tags: , , , ,


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference A better, bitter Butterworth puts his knife in:


The comments to this entry are closed.