Print papers are going tabloid, the media world is changing, and everyone is finding their way in the brave new world. NZ is well served, I think, in the range of online offerings that are exploring beyond the fringes of the mainstream media.
Scoop pitches itself as a site for news-makers rather than consumers, with independent “no spin” reporting. It is home to the always excellent Gordon Campbell, and god-parent to Campbell’s very own Werewolf.
The Labour site Red Alert is a very bold gambit, of course, putting Labour MPs in to the front line of the new media. Mixed results, it has to be said, but so far ahead of the totally lame NationalMPs that it isn’t funny (who even knows that the Nats have a “blog”?).
Pundit is an interesting experiment with some high profile and excellent writers, and opinions from all over the political spectrum. It surprises me that they never seem to have achieved “critical mass” (something to do with the erratic and often slow posting schedule I suspect – sorry Tim!).
Then there are the teeming blogs. The right is represented by full time ego-bloggers with strong links to National at Kiwiblog and Whaleoil. They have both variously claimed to be the biggest blog in NZ, but I think that the group at Public Address could give them a run for their money (or our very own chaotic collective here at The Standard of course). Left leaning or otherwise interesting blogs that (time permitting) I’m currently reading include: No Right Turn, DimPost, The Political Scientist, Frankly Speaking, Local Bodies, Imperator Fish, Maui Street, Kiwipolitico, Ideologically Impure, Waitakere News, The Jackal, mars 2 earth, and the science oriented SciBlogs and Hot Topic. Apologies to the many other excellent blogs that I have left off the list, I invite folk to make your own recommendations in comments.
Anyway, this meandering review was prompted by the recent news of another new player in the online media market, with an interesting funding model. Welcome, and all the very best, to Bernard Hickey’s JOURNALISM.ORG.NZ – “Public interest journalism funded by the public”. If you haven’t heard of it yet you should go and check it out (a bit of a discussion here). From the About pitch:
Journalism.org.nz is a not-for-profit trust dedicated to creating and supporting public interest journalism.
It is building a platform for the public and journalists to work together to investigate, probe, challenge and hold to account governments, companies and special interests.
Journalism.org.nz is a non-partisan and that will employ journalists to gather information, ask questions and publish news, analysis, investigations and commentary in the public interest.
It is funded by members of the public who want to support this kind of journalism.
Hickey hopes to attract commenters who will pay an annual subscription, and is running a poll on possible rates here. Not many votes yet, but it’s early days, and this initiative will be one to watch (or even participate in!).
No doubt a new media ecosystem will eventually establish itself. I suspect that funding models based on micro-payments will be more successful than an annual subscription, but let’s wait and see. For the moment, we live in interesting times. Eventually they’ll be “the good old days”. Now there’s a worrying thought.