Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bleak house

More impressions of Flat Earth News by Nick Davies. I'm trying to get time to read on the train this week so I can make a proper dent in this book. It's hard going. I'm on the chapter about private detectives at the moment. When our magazine did a story about a strange character a few years ago, here, it was picked up by one of the nationals. They were quite a bit nastier than us and found out more very personal information about him than we did. At the time I thought it must because we weren't hard nosed. I'm not so sure now.

John Sweeney has done a good review in the New Statesman, here.

I also think Davies is missing one of the biggest shifts in media consumption. The front page of Press Gazette last week splashed with the £2bn figure for the size of the business to business press. People work harder now, they expect good information and their media touchstones that shape their identity are their own personal trade and business titles. That's why my old alma mater, EMAP, has just been bought for such a princely sum by Apax and the GMG.

Because people don't associate with their own community to the same extent, regional papers are trapped in a cycle of decline. Ultra local media may begin to fill the void, but it hasn't reached that time yet.

I'd argue that the quality of writing and research on mags like Broadcast, Retail Week and Computer Weekly is excellent. This is also where a large and fruitful future for journalism lies.

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