Revolution at the bottom of my street?
Having just moved into a new flat I'm delighted I've already begun to attract hangers on! No sooner have I become a Bloomsbury resident than news begins to seep out of a new television station just down the road in Doughty Street. I have to say that I am very excited by it, and not just because 18 Doughty Street may be just down the road from me. It is a great opportunity to challenge the established - and often hidden - interests and agenda that are behind big media, so often and so falsely seen as unbiased disseminators of news. I look forward to hopefully being able to lend my support however possible.
It is possible to get carried away with the ability of the web, blogs and online streaming to transfrom the face of the media. I don't predict a revolution. There are obvious limitations and people do like a brand which they feel they can trust. There will always be a place for professional publications and media organisations. Nonetheless, I still believe blogs and ventures such as 18 Doughty Street will transform the way media works and how we get our information. The entire press will not collapse. Traditional TV and its advertising revenue won't crumble. It will, however, have to become more accountable, transparent and responsive to the public in order to survive in its current form.
The easier it is to set up alternative forms of media, the more accessible blogs become, both for reading and publishing, and the nearer new media brings us to the "figures" of the day (and many of them know this. We almost seem to be moving past an age of spin to "living spin", whereby public figures have to live their image rather than having it groomed at appropriate times. I'm loathe, however, to say it will out of necessity lead to us getting purely honest impressions of people as the process will always be managed in some ways.) then the greater the pressure of competition will become. That competition will either lead to great improvements and transformations in the BBC, the Times and Guardian, and even the likes of the Spectator or they will find times much harder. What is clear is that they will have to substantively change; just pandering to the existence of "blogs" with the odd corner column misses the point.