Sunday, 19 August 2012

Comment: On Digital News

On Digital News.

On the World Wide Web, no one can hear you scream.  Perhaps you think everyone can, but they can’t and they won’t and no one cares.  Too much information, too much misinformation, too much pap and filler and you don’t know which way to turn anymore.  The information super highway is a parking lot – virtual radiators boiling over, communication breakdowns and search engines which have seized, become overloaded and so are of no use to anyone.

With the state of the print news media as it is – perhaps in a state of flux, rather than on its deathbed, as many are proclaiming – the internet is, to many others, the Way Of The Future.  This is where The News will be reported, they cry, where it already is being reported, where it will call home in only a matter of years.  Newspapers are dead and dying, they say, thumping their fists on barroom tables, no one reads them and it’s only a matter of Time.

Time.  It’s always about Time.  In this day and age, people lust after information.  They need Instant Gratification.  And so they sit at their personal computers and scroll away, surfing perhaps, just going where the virtual wind (the one which whips across this faux landscape at a rate of chilling knots) blows them.  Hitting dusty recesses of a Network run amok on a regular basis, keeping informed, as they see it.  They have no Time, and so the internet is where they spend it all.

But whom can we trust?  The recent Fairfax and News Ltd shakeups have seen wholly digital publishing crop up as a viable option for the SMH and The Age, amongst others, and so perhaps we’ll see these two veritable publications cease to exist in print form, calling the internet their only home.  Maybe this will happen, maybe it won’t…

The internet... apparently
The internet is, in theory, a viable place to read the news, a place where the same style of reporting, the same news, can be seen and read, all without leaving the comfort of your home, your office, even your bed – but again, whom can we trust?

Until then, until we Know, we’re surfing dangerous waters.  For who knows what lurks, just below the surface, on a medium largely unpoliced, unmonitored, uncensored.  Pornographers and scammers, those who set their own agendas based on their own fetid values, passing off their brand of information as The Truth and The Way, and we don’t know any better.  How can the internet be viewed as a credible source then, for news, when so many are able to dictate?

Yes, there are sites which have the credibility.  The SMH and Age sites are credible, as are the sites of other newspapers, along with the likes of independently published sites such as New Matilda and Crikey.  But these are but a few in a vacuous void, the likes of which we have yet to scratch the surface of.  There is, no doubt, more to come on this…

Samuel J. Fell

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