Unbiased, Objective, Integrity, Free Press?
The history of news reporting, and of providing information to people is one of power struggles, repression, suppression, censoring, exclusive licensing, ideological propaganda.
The emergence of journalism as a profession and of the major organizations which employ them is interesting to study because there are a lot of assumptions among the public, the idea of having a ‘free press’ is a pretty one, but in real terms has the press ever been a totally free and objective entity?
George Orwell, or Eric Blair to use his birth name, depicted a society in which an oligarchy has total control over its people. We are familiar with the story line of “1984”, where the ‘Ministries’ each control their brief: The Ministry of Truth deals with propaganda, media publications, the control of history through direct control of the language.
This control over language, and of history gave the oligarchy in “1984” its absolute control over the population, can we see a similar level of control in our western society? Well maybe not in the same overtly blatant way it is described in the novel, but the mass media empires which developed in the 20th Century certainly held a very powerful place in the production of social ‘common sense’, and the analysis by mass media groups in western culture was instrumental in how it manifested and moved.
It seems obvious to me that the control over mass media production was critical to our western culture from the beginning of the 20th Century. The emergence of the major media platforms, Radio, Television and text media each depended on significant private funding; the control over licensing and editorial policy also represents an interesting juncture of influence and power.
We can see that today social media, and indeed the many independent media projects which are springing up on the global media of the internet are today’s main focus of influence.
This is significant. In fact this is the main point.
The journalists, writers, bloggers and commentators, pundits and ‘influencers’ do not work for major newspapers or T.V networks these days. They are most likely to be independent freelancers, or media company builders who do not belong to the ‘media clubs’ from the 20th Century.
A political, or cultural analyst could operate a YouTube channel, and have millions of subscribers, have their videos and writing widely syndicated and reach literally Billions of people. This is a full reality, one which is only now beginning to dawn on many who occupy the mainstream media empires.
For the digitally literate communicator the reach, and power of digital media vastly exceeds the reach from ‘traditional’ forms of media.
A local radio show is no longer assured of gaining an audience. A Podcast however, published on the internet platforms can potentially reach global audiences, and be able to spread ideas, opinions, views, information and education in ways which broadcast technology can only dream of attaining.
The maturity of digital culture is something we need to fully address if we are trying to build a media career.
The times have changed beyond anything which mainstream media is admitting.
Transition from ‘Freelance’ to fully independent media project is only a matter of scale, of perspective. Once talented and capable communicators understand the opportunity of building their own venture, instead of banging their heads against the obstinate brick wall of mainstream media organizations, we will see a complete paradigm shift in media.
We have already witnessed the unthinkable, established mass media producers becoming irrelevant, and fading in their authority and influence; this has only taken 20 years!
We are indeed on the threshold of a genuinely egalitarian ‘Free Press’, the dominance of language, of social analysis and the influence over public attitudes has shifted away from the mainstream media organizations, it is just that they are refusing to admit it.
If you seek to become more effective, if you desire to move from being a ‘Freelance’ journalist and to build your own media company, then we should talk.