Thursday, May 21, 2009

WAAS Up? - Cringely on technology

Well, it seems that no one so far has picked up on the “that” in THAT’s the story.

But I’ve been saying for years now that there is no reason to mourn the death of traditional media (newspapers etc.) when in fact they died a long time ago.

Companies, government agencies, police departments, subway authorities, and your local little league all have as part of their mission communicating with the public. It’s quite easy for them to do this now and in some ways those that used to be the conduits of this information (the press) are now like the little old lady down the street. They spread unconfirmed gossip, and when not, get the story wrong all on their own, slant it to match their own world view, or just make it up because they got stuck in traffic.

Much of the printed news is in fact regurgitated press releases. After all the author of a press release isn’t likely to lodge a copyright complaint even if you copy them word for word. On complex subjects, where the reporter diverges from the pure text of the PR he is likely to be delving into Fantasyland, going from his own apocryphal knowledge of the subject. “Yeah, my GPS was acting up the other day, things must REALLY be bad!”

When it comes to Q&A where the reporters supposedly represent the interests of the public things aren’t much better. White house press conference these days are a laughing stock (and it isn’t just due to the fawning attitude of the press to the new administration).

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