Democratising media: no such thing

Pundits love the idea of the democratising the media: give people access to the tools and a method of distribution – that’ll scare ‘them’. ‘They’ are media barons and governments. ‘They’ are big movie companies and TV networks. Watch ‘them’ quake as the old models are swept away by citizen journalism and the creativity of ‘the people’.

The problem with this theory is that access to tools and to distribution doesn’t change the proportion of those in society who produce and those who consume. The slow evolution of technology simply changes who does the producing – it doesn’t make more people want to do it. This redistribution of staff will change much in the media business, but it doesn’t mean the definition of what a citizen is will change.

Eventually, all the activist media democrat will need to go with their digital technology and almost free distribution system will be the four or five years it takes to teach themselves how to tell stories effectively using visual media. That narrows the option down to the usual 2% of the population who care about this sort of thing…

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2 comments
  1. Norman said:

    True, except you’re not really thinking globally on this. There are plenty of countries in the world that have been too poor to invest in the expensive media tools, that are now beginning to add their 2% into the mix as well. I’ve spent several trips to Jordan in the last few years watching them develop a film and television core that they never have had before.

    They were going from about 0% to more. A lot more. And their was a real hunger to do it.

  2. Alex said:

    You’re right. I’m only talking about the vocal minority that makes up the western world.

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