Friday, May 19, 2006

Is 'convergence' the next media disaster?

[Keyword: ]. Esward Wasserman writes about the dangers of companies using online journalism and its associated trend, convergence, as an excuse to increase production, "degrading the working conditions of journalists and diverting energies away from the kind of richly detailed, thoughtful reporting that exemplifies the best in journalism."

"It's the insertion," he argues, "of the Internet's round-the-clock publishing cycle that threatens the greatest harm to the quality of news and information we receive."

Perhaps - but would that round-the-clock publishing cycle be so threatening if sufficient production staff were allocated to ensure quality? How do 24-hour TV news channels manage the same? And if you accept that argument, does not the daily publishing cycle of most newspapers also 'threaten' quality? Does it make a weekly newspaper better quality? Or a monthly magazine?

Speed certainly does threaten quality - many journalists will tell you how the pressure to publish and fill pages results in shortcuts being taken, but is this due to speed itself, or the lack of training to cope with that speed (editing practices), and the lack of staff to produce enough to fill that space?

PS: Shame on Miami Herald for not making their text resizable and so accessible to those with limited vision.

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