New social media channels allow new voices as well as trad journalism

It’s interesting to note various journalists complaining about the demise of print media and its impact on quality journalism.

I also find it ironic, given that so many of the journalists work for mainstream media machines that consistently run biased agendas that are full of half truths for much of time.

I don’t agree with their usual line that the quality or independence of media is under threat. It’s just a change of media channel.

It's part of the now well known process of creative destruction of existing industries. Get ready for more of it.

The new media channels are owned by new players, and there are so many of them that it is much harder for a dominant line to emerge. That’s good.

At the same time as printed newspapers have declined (and will decline further), a much wider variety of more independent and quality electronic newspapers and other online news outlets have emerged. Given the growth of cheap smart phones and tablets, the access to these is likely to even greater than the access to the printed word.

In addition, the electronic outlets in many cases give us all much better quality, independence and integrity than we have been forced to cop from many of the print empires of yesterday (and the Governments they have chosen to support). If they don't, we can easily select other good options.

One of the better developments recently is how channels like the Australian ABC has added good quality electronic “print” articles to its site  This follows in the steps of newer great news sources such as Al Jazeera online and the everlasting BBC.

Let us hope this development at the Aussie ABC is not wound back by regime change or underfunding, or both. (Even now, due no doubt to funding, the ABC is far too repetitive to build and sustain the audience it could have).

You also don't have to be an established media player with experience to pull off a quality online contribution. For example, "The Conversation" in Australia has allowed a whole new group of intelligent, informed people to add excellent material to the debate

At the same time, the emergence of the many global faces of Al Jazeera has not only provided a lot of new, quality jobs around the world, but also provided a new source of information, commentary and analysis that is not from the so-called developed world.

Hillary Clinton has noted how this development directly challenges the American centric view of the world. She said: "Al Jazeera has been the leader in that [they] are literally changing people’s minds and attitudes. And like it or hate it, it is really effective,”  It’s something even the NSA can’t do anything about!

At the same time as we no doubt have a significant number of Orwellian tendencies in our world, the rise of the new streams of quality media and information is a development to be celebrated.

The fact that many of the existing media empires that have not been able to adapt is a function of their quality of management and innovation. For example, it took the Fairfax management in Australia so long to provide an affordable online subscription process that worked well enough to be worth bothering with. I gave up long before they got there.

Lastly, it’s worth of course mentioning the rise of the so-called Fifth Estate... the vast media channel that is social media... with official and non-official “journalists”. It not only generates a vast amount of independent comment, but also circulates material that otherwise would never compete with the mainstream. And even though some of the social media empires are sometimes picky about how they treat their “customers”, every individual can own a simple Word Press blog, and thereby own and control their own content (using social media to circulate the links to it).

The occasional social media or print empire may choose to restrict the material from such individuals, but with a vast array of outlets available, truth and quality will find its way to at least large groups of people, globally. Hurrah.

To build this further, and even more quickly, many of the new media voices still need to spend more time deliberately building their following...and working on content that will attract and keep following. This will mean more social media training in the vast capacity of the social media tools they use, or could use.

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