Sunday, 14 December 2008

Harbingers of Doom or Balanced Media Coverage?

By Darren E Laws

You have to love the media's ability to embrace all consuming bad news.  It would appear to someone looking at the coverage of the latest global economic news from a truly objective point of view that good news is extinct.  High street stores are closing, banks are going under, the car industry is close to collapse, the stock market is in meltdown and if you are British, the value of Sterling is teetering on a precipice.

Redundancy is the new buzz word and don't companies love it. They embrace it like an old friend, because it is an old friend.  Many companies are using the current situation to trim the fat in preparation of a downturn, and others whose profits will be affected are using it as a tool to keep shareholders happy. The media reports on all of this with what appears to be apparent glee, which is surprising considering the desperate situation a lot of the media finds itself in.

Unwilling or perhaps unable to adjust to the arrival of the Internet, the media has seen an erosion of advertising revenue that is unparalleled in recent years.  Let's face the Internet is such a new medium they have hardly had time to react, I mean, the rise whilst being spectacularly fast is no overnight success.  The net has been growing in the popular sense since 1993 and it appears that only now with the widespread popularity of broadband, has the threat been taken seriously or the opportunities explored by a media that is now almost on its knees.

So, we have a scenario where the media that is reporting the current financial situation (and it is an extraordinary situation) is not exactly reporting from a media neutral point of view.  Talking down the economy is damaging, spreading fear and uncertainty is also less than positive but this is the position we find ourselves in and at the mercy of a media that is smarting with many newsgroups looking set to follow the banks, high street stores and the car industry. 

With such an uncertain future ahead of us we need to have balanced reporting and trust what is being written and broadcasted.  If we can't trust the news being reported in in these trying times to at least be balanced then they may just become the harbingers of their own doom as we abandon the trusted media for a fresh and more positive approach from the new media. 

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