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Cablevision-Newsday deal would advance our “multitude media” future, while Murdoch was about our mass media past 5/11/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in MultitudeMedia.
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With apologies to Madonna, we are living in a mass media world, but we are not mass media girls — or guys. Metro-area level mass media, like newspapers and TV stations, may be the most popular sources of local news, but that’s not because we’re most interested in metro-level news. Given a choice, we’d much rather consume news that more directly affects our lives, such as news of family and friends (e.g. from Facebook or MySpace), our neighborhoods, communities, schools, shopping areas, vocations or avocations. It has been the limitations of 20th century technologies that kept us from getting the news we really wanted.

And that’s what makes the end game of the bids for Long Island’s Newsday by Rupert Murdoch and Cablevision so significant. While it is true that Murdoch owns a number of suburban newspapers in the NY area, his game seems to be more about controlling the NYC market for its position as a national news center of money and power. On the other hand, as a leading cable provider on Long Island, Cablevision seems to be more interested in dominating hyperlocal news in just one part of the NY area. Murdoch is about mass media. Cablevision is about multitude media, the direction in which news is headed. We will be seeing a lot more of what Cablevision is doing in metro areas throughout the country. Stay tuned.

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1. D Han - 5/13/08

Essentially we want information on things which effect our lives, the more directly the better. But we also want information which enables us to make good decisions, to the extent that mass media culture has not diminished our ability to do so with disinformation and eye candy that provides sensation but no substance. Purveyors like MySpace and Facebook provide personalized information, but not necessarily information which empowers us. if you believe that localized, personalized news is the wave of the future, then you also have to ask what such news is really providing. It is not news in the sense that the NYTs is news. If it is empowerment that you are looking for, then activist networks such as ZCom which provide information, perspective and networking are far more useful than sites like Facebook. But the real question is, “what is news?” The secondary question is, “do we really want news anymore, and if not, why is that?”
Murdoch is about promoting a worldview which promotes the interests of his megacorporations, empowering some and diverting the rest. The public its various packages is, of course, the commodity sold to advertisers. Cablevision seems to have less of an agenda than Murdoch and is more interested in the form of information, perhaps making it more of an entertainment company. Is either trend healthy for the future of news?


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