Sunday, February 17, 2008

gerrymandering the news...

I just finished the Nick Davies work Flat Earth News - see also

quite a few of the arguments about PR are actually
previously extremely well analyzed in the book by
Jerry Mander (real name!) on TV

I was surprised this wasn't cited as it was written by an insider and
is very incisive...and around some time ago!

I thought the best material was the analysis of the construction of a
misinformed public awareness in US and UK on the buildup to war with iraq -
having just finished Alastair Campbell's fairly obviously carefully edited
diaries, one has to wonder at the brazenness of it all!

For me, what a lot of people working on traditional channels of information
vastly underrate is the accuracy, timeliness, and evidence of provenance
available on wikis and blogs and related content - for info, I recently put in a
proposal to the research councils in the UK to get funding to be a "media fellow"
(to improve public understanding of computer science) and proposed using
myspace/facebook + wiki/podcast- the reviewers all said "oh this is fun but i
should get a production company and do it on radio and TV 'properly'"!!
I was amazed - gven I was proposing something to reach "yoof" who watch/listen
to virtually no documentary programs on the legacy media, I thought my model was
relevant and plausible.

I guess the traditional media's continual assertion (without decent evidence) of the inaccuracy of information on the Net (as opposed to on TV, Radio, Newspaper) is because of their fear that with the right search tools and a little discernment, the average punter can find out a whole lot more about what is Really Going on via Cyber space, than via any of the PR, Security Agency and Corporate mindspeak that dominate the legacy media....


Mr Davies writes quite readably, albeit a tad repetitive (I guess quite a lt of the material was edited from other sources - I'd ask for minor corrections if it was a PhD dissertation:)

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