George Orwell famously said journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations. In a world festooned with PR exercises and reputation management, was Mr Orwell overly cynical, or was he well ahead of his time? With print media’s business model in free fall, newspaper proprietors are increasingly desperate to find ways to ensure financial viability. The problem with this approach is that corporate interests can and often do trump the interests of readers. Joining us to discuss how free the UK press really is are the lecturer in journalism and media studies at Birkbeck College, Justin Schlosberg, and the editor of Open Media at openDemocracy, James Cusick.
Influencing hearts and minds at home to achieve foreign policy objectives abroad isn’t anything new, but many people have become increasingly skeptical of half-truths in the mainstream media that help promote regime change in other countries. As public trust wanes and more critical questions are being asked about the real agenda around intervention, are we becoming more aware of modern day propaganda?
For many years the British tabloid press has had a monopoly on how the working class perceives themselves and their communities. But tabloid power is waning, creating an opportunity to tell a different story. One that’s more human and intricate. Not designed to divide, fool and rule. Joining us to work out if we are wiser to media manipulation or complicit in it are Aaron Reeves, associate professorial research fellow at the International inequalities Institute at the London School of Economics and Dr James Alan Anslow a writer and researcher in depth psychology, and former tabloid journalist.
Cracked quietly laid off its entire video production team and most of its staff over the Christmas break, taking its core product with it, along with the writers, actors and personalities that made it famous in the first place. If it still expects to profit on margins, it’s in for a rude shock. Why would its key audience return to the site, knowing it has been stripped for its parts? These job losses are a cautionary tale for how not to run a media company. Its lessons apply as much to founders as investors.
It used to be that news was more or less the reporting of interactions that were geopolitical in scale. These days, news stories break at the speed of a president’s pudgy little bigot-fingers. Newspapers are complicit in acquiescing to the chaos of Trump’s presidency by keeping us at tweet’s length from a deeper understanding of this new, terrifying White House. One could almost argue that it’s never been more important for newspapers to avoid reporting the news, and instead tell us what’s actually going on.