I am about to do what so many bloggers do – refer to a newspaper item, quote part of it, and make a brief comment. That this practice is exercising the minds of the media owners was made clear in a very interesting Media Watch (ABC) on Monday:
The Philistines, in Mr Murdoch’s view, are the bloggers and aggregators, from Crikey to the Huffington Post, who, he claims, survive by commenting on the stories that newspaper journalists dig up.
And they’re also the search engines, the Googles and Yahoos, who Mr Murdoch says reap a fortune by making news available without creating it – and feed none of that money back to the content creators.
But Rupert Murdoch and his son James, the heir presumptive to the News Corporation empire, believe the public must be made to wake up too.
The free ride is over:
James Murdoch: Yet it is essential for the future of independent digital journalism that a fair price can be charged for news to people who value it.
— Edinburgh International Television Festival MacTaggart Lecture delivered by James Murdoch, 28th August, 2009
Now for Ross Gittins. Today he offers a quick diagnosis of our current evolutionary dilemma. I tend to agree.
… At one level we’re smart enough to have dreamt up all our amazing machines and ways of organising society; at another we’re people with caveman brains struggling to cope in the space age.
We’ve been too successful for our own good. When humans lived in small groups on the African savannah we were hardwired to be preoccupied with the pursuit of resources, which were scarce. Since our ancestors often couldn’t obtain all the food they needed, they were programmed to grab all they could find…
The greatest consequence of our transition from scarcity to abundance is that human economic activity, which at first was puny relative to the huge natural environment, is now so big – so many humans in the world enjoying such high material living standards – it’s doing great damage to the ecosystem that provides us life.
Climate change is the most pressing instance of that damage, but our politicians seem blissfully ignorant of the threat.