Monday, February 06, 2012

British journalism: deferential, elitist and in need of a good shake-up

Today's Guardian. Page 28. At the top end Dan Sabbagh asks:

"... why is this country unable to create a globally significant disruptive media or internet business? ... Perhaps our institutional media stability creates too much hierarchy and too much deference ..."

Underneath, Antonia Senior falls into one of the many, many traps too many journalists don't even see:

"Kindle-owning bibliophiles are furtive beasts ... It's not future classics that push digital sales, but more downmarket fare ... Mills and Boon has done particularly well ... I'm not so sure it is wise to underestimate the boundless idiocy of the unobserved reading public."

Well blow me down – the populus reads popular fiction. Only in digital form, of course. Print has always, always been reserved for the elite, the truly literary, the recherché. There have never been any airport blockbusters, no James Patterson production line page turners, no Mills and Boon in print. No pornography either because only pure and clever people read real books.

Unfortunately she gives the game away by asking the lazy journalist's cliché question:

"Why else would anyone have read Ulysses?"

And did you hear John Humphreys going gooey over the queen on Today? As Dan Sabbagh notes:

"the broadcasters ... have become solid, permanent institutions in two generations."
Deferential, elitist, lazy and unlikely to be resuscitated by Leveson alone, in my opinion.

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