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Mega-media meltdown?

saga
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Joined: Aug 5 2006

DAMN NEAR PERFECT STORM...

When the stock markets began their downward spirals late last summer, a good friend who's opinion I frequently seek and value reminded me that predictions about market collapse are often "self-fulfilling prophecies".

The bearers of the bad news it seems are now caught-up in the financial storm they may have helped create. Within a wickedly competitive media market, in efforts to outdo each sanguinary headline, the media not only panicked the panicky, but may have panicked their own investors...namely the advertising dollars they count on for survival.

To be fair, the media fed panic is but one of the many reasons for the evaporation of advertising dollars available to conventional newspapers, television and radio. But, it is not because the number of users is going down. Just this past week, the Radio Marketing Bureau reported healthy numbers in Canadian use of the media. Eighty-one percent of us listen to radio every day. Compared to the previous year, the 2008 statistics show that 82% used more (or the same) of radio, 79% of newspapers, and 76% of television. On average, every one of us 33-million Canadians listen to radio or watch TV more than 5 hours a week.

 I find it interesting how CanWest so quickly dove toward bankruptcy.

I like to think this is 'karma' for the media giants for buying out all the locals and consolidating into mega-corporations. However, the first ones to suffer from the agony of the dying megas will be the small locals.

I would like to see the demise of these magamediacorps and people take back control of local media.

 


Comments

janfromthebruce
Online
Joined: Apr 24 2007

Me too1

______________________________________________________________________________________ Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!


contrarianna
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Joined: Aug 15 2006

The demise of the Nat Post will be a boost to the other national daily. Thus ends redundancy--why have 2 papers "of record" endosing Harper and neoliberalism?

Besides getting a bigger chunk of diminishing advertising, the Gobble and Mewl will have its pick of Nat Post staff in a buyers market.


George Victor
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Joined: Oct 28 2007

The Globe and Mail separates story and editorial, and does not endorse Harper - but shuns the NDP. However, as a paper read avidly by people following the collapse of their planned future (certainly, anyone who follows their investments in play),  they are not as proactive as they should be in condemning the oil patch. Although to know what is happening in that or any other industry, the Globe is a necessary read.

It is cutting loose 10 per cent of its staff as a result of dropping ad revenues. Circulation numbers remain firm, last I heard. It could conceivably be the last viable broadsheet in Canada at the end of this meltdown - which would be a damn shame for anyone concerned about how others see their world as citizens.

CanWest was overextended in its debt when it bought Conrad's empire, and its fate has been sealed by the forces affecting all media. M'Lord Black had founded the Post when he decided Canada's "anti-state" element needed an organ to play the neo-con tune.  

With its disappearance, there will be nowhere for a variety of deniers to hide. The dialectic at work will shift to favour our "karma", Saga.Wink

 


contrarianna
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Joined: Aug 15 2006
George Victor wrote:

The Globe and Mail separates story and editorial, and does not endorse Harper ....

The G&M is generally known to have explicitly endorsed Harper for the last election in it's editorial:

Harper is Growing into the Job :


"But despite these personality traits, Mr. Harper has governed moderately and competently for nearly three years. He has not taken the country in dangerous new directions or significantly eroded the capacity of the government to act, when necessary, in the public interest. He has been side-swiped, at least on the emotional level, by an international economic crisis of epic proportions. But he has gotten the big things right."

======
More importantly, editorial/management stances and the preponderance of reporting are a continuum not discrete compartments.   
Even if there are no disputations of "facts" in a reported story, the notion that that reflects impartial reporting is mistaken on the face of it.
Spins and biases are a fact of life in media and it could hardly be otherwise. Choices are constantly made:

What stories are worthy.
What are the unstated, but assumed, presumptions behind the story.
What elements in the story are be highlighted and what suppressed.
Who's opinions are quoted in relation a story--is it done in context.
Is an opposing perspective to the favored perspective given honest representation (if represented at all).
How much space and placement of unfavoured positions are allowed.

The list could go on but all this, and more, goes on without any overt editorializing. 


George Victor
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Joined: Oct 28 2007

Yep, it's never entirely objective. But knowing two Globe columnists, I know that they are free of far right ideological assumptions. Some are not so disposed, but I guess you are not generalizing to the extent of saying that all Globe writers meet the characteristics you've listed in the same way.

You see the wide range selected for the op-ed page to try to demonstrate that there is no particular bias (and they do better in this regard than the NYTimes).

And yes the "Harper growing into the job" shit happens.  But you have left out some severe criticism of his autocratic ways, secrecy, and with his happy finance minister, just plain dumb, since the election.

With disappearance of the Post, they will be freed up to come to an old  Tory position. The struggle is to get real regarding the Oil Patch.

And they have always been far, far better in all regards than the Post. There is no comparison. The reporter who writes the award-winning stuff out of Afghanistan , told me he could never have joined the Post, and was revolted by its record in the news world. He blew the whistle on Afghans being handed over the the mercies of their own police services after capture by Canadian forces. Is riskiing his ass, but happy in his honest independence.


contrarianna
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Joined: Aug 15 2006
George Victor wrote:

Yep, it's never entirely objective. But knowing two Globe columnists, I know that they are free of far right ideological assumptions. Some are not so disposed, but I guess you are not generalizing to the extent of saying that all Globe writers meet the characteristics you've listed in the same way.

You see the wide range selected for the op-ed page to try to demonstrate that there is no particular bias (and they do better in this regard than the NYTimes).

And yes the "Harper growing into the job" shit happens.  But you have left out some severe criticism of his autocratic ways, secrecy, and with his happy finance minister, just plain dumb, since the election.

With disappearance of the Post, they will be freed up to come to an old  Tory position. The struggle is to get real regarding the Oil Patch.

And they have always been far, far better in all regards than the Post. There is no comparison. The reporter who writes the award-winning stuff out of Afghanistan , told me he could never have joined the Post, and was revolted by its record in the news world. He blew the whistle on Afghans being handed over the the mercies of their own police services after capture by Canadian forces. Is riskiing his ass, but happy in his honest independence.

"By 1990, publishers of mass circulation daily newspapers will finally stop kidding themselves that they are in the newspaper business and admit that they are primarily in the business of carrying advertising messages."
-- A. Roy Megary, publisher, Toronto Globe and Mail

====
Comparing the Globe favorably to the NYT is low praise indeed.

What Laxer said of the Globe is applicable to all the elite press:
"The trouble is that Canadians who rely on the Globe and Mail and the other daily newspapers in English Canada for information and intelligent commentary have to sift through mountains of crap to glean the odd useful fact or insight. A few decades ago, Herbert Marcuse called this kind of thing the “repressive tolerance” of the press in the democratic world."
 
"Shit" does not, as you say, just "happen", it is the product of selective consumption and excretion.
But for the endorsement of Harper, the Globe could just as easily switch in the next election to an endorsement of Count Igulla. For many, such a "change" would be evidence of the G&M's independence--even though they both represent corporate, neoliberal and neoconservative interests. Visibility is low when swimming in shit.

Your columnists friends may be pleasant people but there is no evidence that individuals steer the paper off message. Ineffectual token lefties aside (Salutin and?), most columnists and reporters know that significant departures from main directions of the organ can be career limiting. Sub-editors don't want to have to drop or revise someones work and if the paper's orientation is not already part of the writers' world view, conscious and unconsious self-censorship and "message-tuning" usually happens before it becomes the sub-editors problem.

Although somewhat dated (switch "terrorist" for 'communist" in the following passage) and not entirly satisfactory, the Chomsky-Herman "Propagaganda Model" is a good place to start to understand the "news" system in liberal democracies:

"What is the propaganda model and how does it work? The crucial structural factors derive from the fact that the dominant media are firmly imbedded in the market system. They are profit-seeking businesses, owned by very wealthy people (or other companies); they are funded largely by advertisers who are also profit-seeking entities, and who want their ads to appear in a supportive selling environment. The media are also dependent on government and major business firms as information sources, and both efficiency and political considerations, and frequently overlapping interests, cause a certain degree of solidarity to prevail among the government, major media, and other corporate businesses. Government and large non-media business firms are also best positioned (and sufficiently wealthy) to be able to pressure the media with threats of withdrawal of advertising or TV licenses, libel suits, and other direct and indirect modes of attack. The media are also constrained by the dominant ideology, which heavily featured anticommunism before and during the Cold War era, and was mobilized often to prevent the media from criticizing attacks on small states labelled communist.""
  http://www.chomsky.info/onchomsky/199607--.htm

NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

DBRS downgrades divisions of CanWest

http://business.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090223.wcanWestDBRS0223/BNStory/Business/home

CanWest Media's rating was downgraded to CCC from B-high while CanWest LP was shifted to CCC-high from BB-low.

CanWest Global Communications

 

The Globe and Mail

All the ratings are considered below investment grade, which ranges from AAA at the top end to BBB at the low end in the DBRS rating system.

DBRS said that CanWest is still talking to its bankers, and if it fails to renegotiate its $100-million debt facility by Friday, then it'll be in a default position.

CanWest owns the Global television network in Canada, a chain of big-city Canadian daily newspapers and broadcast businesses in several countries.

The company also owes about $3.9-billion in debt.

RBC Dominion Securities, its adviser, and has been scouring the market searching for last-minute financing.

CanWest is facing a downturn in advertising revenues spurred by a struggling economy, and the company recently cut 560 jobs, or about five per cent of its work force.


George Victor
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Joined: Oct 28 2007

Yes, contrarianna, G & M is an imperfect product and Megary was, early on, pointing to the place of advertising...no. l.

And my contacts on the Globe realize this, but as people of conscience, they can live with themselves, knowing their product is the best on the continent (and perhaps you can point me to a more valiant attempt at "purveyor of truth" in the U.S. (mainstream) than the NYTimes?  We sure know it's not perfect, and its admitted its gullible role in weapons of mass destruction...

We went on strike against Thomson's new acquisition  in 1968, the Peterborough Examiner, and lost. I went back to school and the paper, as we knew would happen, became one of Thomson's typical productions, using "news copy as the necessary element to separate the ads" (very roughtly paraphrased from his biography. )  The paper now trades publicly (with declining value) as part of the Osprey group. Thomson's son Ken, the richest man in CAnada at the time of his death,  and a nice man who loved dogs, Smile in a moment of conscience, renewed the Globe as a bastion against the Post, and so far, very successfully.

We can generalize like hell about these things, but believe me, things could be far, far worse than relying on the Globe for its reporting on what moves business in Canada. Forget the bloody editorials. Understand the enemy (as a prof newly out of Berkley told me that year I went back to school) and read the business pages. The folks reading them regularly aren't dummies...just misguided.


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

 Murdoch’s Soft Spot for Print Slows News Corp.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/business/media/23paper.html?ref=todayspaper

But Mr. Murdoch, as much old-fashioned press baron as 21st century multimedia mogul, faces a depressing reality: his lifelong fondness for newspapers has become a significant drag on the fortunes of his company, the News Corporation.

The company recently took $8.4 billion in write-downs, including $3 billion on its newspaper unit, which includes The Journal’s publisher, Dow Jones & Company. Meanwhile, the News Corporation’s stock price has fallen by two-thirds in the last year, a sharper decline than at media conglomerate peers like Time Warner and Viacom.

In more vibrant economic times, investors and Wall Street analysts were more willing to look past Mr. Murdoch’s attachment to newspapers — the newspaper segment is now the company’s biggest single source of revenue, about 19 percent in the most recent quarter. But they find that a tougher chore these days, as other media struggle and newspapers suffer through their worst slump since the Depression.


Frustrated Mess
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Joined: Feb 23 2005

Quote:

When the stock markets began their downward spirals late last summer, a good friend who's opinion I frequently seek and value reminded me that predictions about market collapse are often "self-fulfilling prophecies".

The bearers of the bad news it seems are now caught-up in the financial storm they may have helped create. Within a wickedly competitive media market, in efforts to outdo each sanguinary headline, the media not only panicked the panicky, but may have panicked their own investors...namely the advertising dollars they count on for survival.

To be fair, the media fed panic is but one of the many reasons for the evaporation of advertising dollars available to conventional newspapers, television and radio. But, it is not because the number of users is going down. Just this past week, the Radio Marketing Bureau reported healthy numbers in Canadian use of the media. Eighty-one percent of us listen to radio every day. Compared to the previous year, the 2008 statistics show that 82% used more (or the same) of radio, 79% of newspapers, and 76% of television. On average, every one of us 33-million Canadians listen to radio or watch TV more than 5 hours a week.

I don't buy that at all. I hear it all the time: the media feed negativity that undermines consumer and market confidence. Sorry, but that is not true.

I whike back I started a thread detailing the market collapse as it was occuring and linking each story I could find, most of it not North American, with the standard media lines we were being fed like: the market fundamentals are sound; the economy is strong; etc ...

If the media informed rather than propagandized, we may have averted this disaster. Just like the Iraq War, the corporate media got on a band wagon and sold a bill of goods without critical examination. They did it the with subprime fiasco despite the MO was identical to Enron and WorldCom and they did it with the so-called bail-out.

The media is sinking under its own weight and good riddance. It stands as an obstacle to truth not as an organ of it.


George Victor
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Joined: Oct 28 2007

But in the absence of an "independent" media fashioning the news, can we trust the CBC/BBC/WNETs of this world not to be taken over by the folks who fashion the laws?...Looking at the critical capacity demonstrated by the  consumer/taxpayer/voter mainstream to date. The brave new citizenry, who don't want to be given bad news for breakfast - or even told that taxes will hve to be paid by some generation down the line.


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