THE BLOG

Sold Out! The Media Race To The Bottom

13/09/2016 16:16

Like most people my mornings are unremarkable, I wake up and have a brief struggle to pull myself out of bed. Then like millions of others around the world I go into a digital loop. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, emails, looping over and over throughout the day.

Before my coffee has brewed I have already seen a dozen cat pictures, a stream of babies, the latest article telling me what is going to kill me and an article about what is going to collectively save us from destruction.

Without a doubt I am one of the digital zombies.

Recently a feeling of increasingly disillusionment in the media has been sweeping over me, especially in regards to how the important issues of our time are being covered.
We are fed contradictory information on a daily basis. Just take 'veganism', a special area of interest of mine.

We regularly see articles published in the mainstream media highlighting its benefits. Then fast forward a couple of days and the same media outlet will give a platform to people heavily criticising it.

The film-maker Adam Curtis touches upon this perfectly in this short video Ohdearism.

We've seen this before with climate change when in 2014 the BBC eventually announced they were going to stop putting climate change deniers up against leading climate scientists in debates.

Yet in 2016 many still feel that the BBC are giving too much of a platform to climate change denial.

We live in an instant gratification culture, where media companies with huge overheads are under pressure to deliver the volume of site traffic needed to attract advertisers.

This need to deliver huge quantities of traffic has a knock on effect.

I believe it means that big media companies are less willing to write about issues purely because they are the right thing to cover. They now are equally concerned about how much site traffic a topic will attract.

It also means that with tight budgets in operation big media companies are less likely to commission freelance writers. And when they do with the pressure to deliver 'article hits', they will usually opt for well established or celebrity contributors.

All this amounts to a lack of diversity and fresh ideas coming from our mainstream media publications.

I know this isn't groundbreaking news to any of us. But it really gives us food for thought. How much of this clickbait news do we really need to read?

Would our lives be better off relying on RSS feeds and subscriptions to our favourite blogs. Harking back to the glory days of Twitter 2009/2010 before big corporations and media companies really knew how to use it.

As adults we feel it is our duty to be informed of the issues of the day. I feel guilty if I don't read the news at least a few times a day. This definitely is a modern privilege and one I am not complaining about.

Yet, I feel like we have the right to demand more from most sections of the mainstream media.
I want to see more people given a chance to have their voices heard on a mainstream media platform.

Let's end this constant obsession with celebrity and divisive stories that stir up hate. Wouldn't it be fantastic to see a mainstream media full of positivity? And I think we would all agree sections of the tabloid media long ago stopped treating people with respect.

I believe we can have a media that is representative of the people and I think we need it.
Isn't that what journalism is supposed to be about? Holding the powers that be to account and representing the interests of the public? To me it too often feels like the mainstream media is working for the establishment not standing against it.

Of course we have some brilliant journalists in the UK. George Monbiot's articles are always insightful and Vice do a great job with their video documentaries. And media outlets like Positive News really demonstrate what the future of our media could look like.

In the meantime I am going to be making a conscious effort to find more stories from blogs, YouTube videos and independent media sources.

Judging the writing and ideas on their merit not their popularity.

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