Is it just me, or has the 21st century been a tough old time for journalism?
First, the rise of digital media has in many ways undermined its status as the Great Conveyor of Knowledge. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for digital democracy and I tweet with the best of 'em, but I take a very strong position on one of 38minutes' oldest and most hotly contested debates: is journalism dying? The answer, to me, is a firm no.
Journalism simply needs to move with the times. Digital media feeds us an exhuasting array of information, not all of it reliable, and any professional journalist will apply their critical eye to the source and act as a filter through which only the truth will out. Well, in theory at least.
And how they report that truth has rightly moved on to new platforms and acquired an interactive edge. Again, a welcome development. But there has certainly been a 'settling in' period where the industry had a bit of a wobble: if every Tom, Dick and Harry can self-publish, where does professional journalism fit in?
Then, just as things were settling down - journalism was moving forward, Murdoch had seized on charging for online content and the Old Order was looking to be restored (for better or worse) along came the superinjunction.
If it's frustrating for journalists, it's equally so for consumers. Listening to Have I Got News For You, which was this week censored as a Tory MP attempted to break a series of superinjunctions, was fairly irritating. Why? Simply because in this day and age we feel decidedly uneasy knowing there's a secret out there that The Man is keeping from us. Today, The Man isn't meant to have any power - we're meant to be in charge, aren't we?
Apparently not. Instead, the rich and powerful can purchase silence and force censorship. Journalists are not only banned from reporting their affair (affairs generally being the number one item they wish to cover up) but also banned from reporting that they were banned. It's incredible.
And yet I do have mixed feelings. When it comes to the issue of free speech I'd stand alongside any journalist and argue passionately that it must be protected. If the media can be played as a pawn for the wealthy we can have no hope of fair impartial news (if such a thing is even possible).
But at the same time, is a premier footballer's latest affair really news? Is it in the public interest? Is it even any of our business?
I think there are two issues here: one lofty and one downright seedy. First, we are outraged at the principle of the superinjunction and the threat it poses to free speech. It's the thin end of the wedge.
Second, though we won't admit it, we are a nation of curtain twitchers. Just as we will clamour to see Kate Middleton's dress on Friday and cruelly debate the couple's chances of divorce, so we feel we have a right to know who is shagging who. It's the 21st century god damn it - what's the point of all this clever communications technology if it doesn't enable us to delight in other people's misery?
Okay, so I have my tongue in my cheek here, but the issues are real.
What does everyone else think?
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