Two must-reads for a Saturday afternoon:
China is spending $7.5 billion to turn its three main (government-owned) media giants, CCTV, Xinhua and the People’s Daily, into major international news outlets. There will be more English language print and broadcast news, as well as more uncensored news. Thus the recent censoring of the new American president’s inauguration speech (to delete critical comments about communism and countries that jail critics of the government) inside China, would not occur in overseas broadcasts, in order to give the impression that China does not censor domestic content. The expanded foreign news operation would employ more foreign correspondents, providing the intelligence services with operatives in more (more than a hundred) countries. The expanded news effort would make it easier for China to counter negative news stories about the Chinese government.
Do we invoke American exceptionalism and say “It can’t happen here?”
The answer to this question will most likely depend on the fate of what Bay refers to as a “micro-empire”:
Reliable delivery matters, but in the digital world points of sale proliferate. Running a microempire requires establishing new mutual support arrangements. The smart “micro-empire” will link with the best broadband service (converge with the infrastructure) and in ideal situations provide the “most local” user interface with the broadband service. This creates opportunities for delivering entertainment content and a news service that is elaborative while leveraging “social network” community input and feedback capability. Readers with picture- and video-capable cell phones are text, video, and audio resources. As gadfly bloggers, they are investigators. Read-view-listen provides multiple ways to advertise as well as deliver content. Mobile phones and PDAs are vehicles for delivering content. Shoot the paper horse, but maintaining a paper pony offers a bridge to digital devices. A weekly broadsheet headline summary of online stories inserted in the grocery store’s freebie ad supplement (available at the store or sent by snail mail) does more than pick up a niche market of shoppers. Put text or video download information by the headline so the shoppers—if they choose to do so—can retrieve the entire story on their phones or PDAs. That would carry a small download fee to non-subscribers, billed through the mobile phone company. An audio summary could play via the phone or PDA through a listener’s car speakers as he drives home from the store.
The “micro-empire” may also feed hourly updates to local radio and local TV—at least until the micro-empire becomes local television.
A convergence micro-empire:
This convergence micro-empire is a lean, fast, agile, risk-taking outfit. Convergence has very positive organizational effects, akin to what McLuhan meant by a “new” medium having unobserved effects (“changing the ground,” as he put it). Convergence shrinks the bureaucracy. Convergence doesn’t have time to wait for committees to reach a consensus. Editors and journalists must make decisions—but thanks to the technology, updates and corrections are easy.
The underlying issues on any of these are credibility and integrity. Go read the entire article for his answer to “Will the Next Press Be Capitalist?”
Speaking of integrity,
Roger Kimball takes a look at Eric Holder, he who was behind the Marc Rich pardon. I actually remember the day I read the news on the pardon, since The Husband – who almost never laughs about news – thought I had come up with a really good joke when I read him the news article.
Roger starts his article, Eric Holder Does Justice, with
Hilarious statement of the week:
“I will work to restore the credibility of a department badly shaken by allegations of improper political interference. Law enforcement decisions and personnel actions must be untainted by partisanship.”
Holder is now working to transform the Department of Justice from the rule of law into the pursuit of “social justice,” which means no justice at all: Nominees for the tax division with no experience at all in the field, prosecutors with no prosecutorial background, and on and on.
We have seen what deleterious effects the “social justice” agendas have had in Latin America. Now we’re about to experience it here.
Let’s hope the bloggers and journalists Austin Bay refers to are up to the task of reporting about it.