Election 2013 media panel

Still talking about that front page

Day three of the campaign and we’re still talking about the front page of the Daily Telegraph from day one.

DT Day.

Tim Dunlop writing at new media outlet The Drum weighs in: “The Tele’s front page was a very ‘old media’ approach, one that failed to recognise that the audience is no longer a passive recipient of news from on high but an active participant in what is now a thriving news ecosystem. … Twitter has over two million Australian users, while Facebook has more than 11 million. These are not small numbers, especially when compared to the (approx) 350,000 daily sales of The Telegraph or the 123,000 The Australian manages to eke out.

I mean, who exactly is the irrelevant echo chamber here?”

Tim Dunlop’s argument being that the old media is less relevant than new media. By extension the Tele’s front page is irrelevant too.

Except that we are still talking about it two days later. It will go into the ex post discussion of the election. That front page will live forever - tweets and facebook pages, probably not.

The thing is this: we are on the cusp of the old and new media, including social media. Outlets such as The Drum and The Conversation may well represent the future - but not yet. Each works on a patronage model and doesn’t have to attract paying customers. That is probably the future too. This feature of the new media does make criticism of Rupert Murdoch somewhat hypocritical - after all, he seems to run (at least part of) his newspaper empire on that basis too.

Irrelevancies are ignored, not discussed for two days.

The Tele’s front page matters. Both in the campaign itself and in the rivalry between media organisations. The Age weighed in, with The Australian returning fire.

“A lecture from The Age on ethics is a rich and extraordinary thing. It is the only newspaper in Australia to be guilty of hacking. Yesterday’s edition carried a prominent apology, co-written by three of its journalists, for accessing a restricted ALP database without authorisation. Journalists make mistakes, of course, but the principle of glass houses and stones still applies.”

Harsh. But fair.