Contemporary / History / Literature / Literature & Art

Last Print Newsweek – some thought on New Years Eve 2012/13.


Today I received the last print of the Newsweek. From now on all my information (and 5% of the new books) will be electronically, that is to say via Internet. I discarded all unreliable sources like TV and local newspaper long ago. Time wasters. Now all have been  replaced by Blogs, Skype Video, Twitter, WhisperNet and Internet in various shades including Internet Radio. That trend indicates an enormous fragmentation of information seekers and a lot of work for them. Even more time consuming, because often it means checking raw information. In my case all what has been kept is Newsweek, the Economist and a Zürich daily newspaper besides from some science magazines. I see no big difference between blogs and so called quality journalism and prefer free unprocessed information. With unprocessed Information one knows the need  to check facts and analyze them. In todays real-time journalism, declaring what one won’t report can be just as important as what one will. However, with the paper goes also last illusion of credibility.I am careful with the net – always double check with the help of (old) books. Philosopher Paul Ricoeur has defined history as “a story about the past told to the present for present purposes” and that is more than ever true in the net and any media.

“Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not.“― C.G. Jung

“Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not.“― C.G. Jung

The evolution of what media theorist  have called “networked journalism” has made the business of news much more chaotic, since it now consists of thousands of voices instead of just a few prominent ones who happen to have the connections to make themselves heard. If there is a growth area in media, it is in the field of “curated news,” which needs real-time filters verify and re-distribute the news that comes in from tens of thousands of sources to present a coherent picture of what is happening on the ground.  Mainstream media outlets would like to play a key role in the dissemination of news during such events (however journalists just  tend to retweet other journalists more often than they do non-mainstream sources just like copycat newswire and government briefing info). That worked well in Egypt during the revolution in February, but not in more chaotic (or controlled) Syria. Reality can be twisted by the media. Largely sanitized and devalued, it is too often spoon fed to the public by mainstream outfits whose mission is to coerce us into sharing their values. To make us feel good about the way we’re increasingly pawns for global so-called elites. Complicit in exploiting planet and people, preparing us gently for a corporate world government. Will the media ever explain how the governments of the West are party-political stitch-ups, apologists and legitimizers, public relation and lobby managers for the global finance?

It’s interesting to note that with the advent of the Internet and all other new alternatives, they have not had significant impact on the traditional mediums, except for terristic radio, which was declining before these (new mediums) arrived. But now, with Internet radio, they too can be heard globally.  Americans 2012 spend more than 33 hours per week watching video across the screens, according to the latest Nielsen Cross-Platform Report. Almost the same proportion of the population is reading newspapers and magazines and the vast majority still watching commercial television – but it’s what is happening underneath these overall figures that is critical. For instance, whilst newspapers have held ground in readership, the humble newspaper format has morphed into non paper issues  – Newsweek as a credible early adopter of that transition – and, sometimes will change into readers-per-copy. That is raising the question “Does anyone still read the same newspaper from cover to cover?”

What is today the difference between a good quality blog and a non-paper news outfit, say like The Daily Beast / Newsweek (which I still give a lot of credit)? Little? One example,  CNN on the news about Syria: The news come unprocessed and unilateral from so-called activists. Their clips feel like CIA embedded journalism sometimes intellectually insulting. The news reports from Europe’s “State-TV” and conforming newspaper is no inch better: plain one-sided pro-EU propaganda grossly distorting the facts. As we look at the way news and information flows in this new world of social networks, and what  has been called “random acts of journalism” by those who may not even see themselves as journalists, it’s easy to get distracted by how chaotic the process seems, and how difficult it is to separate the signal from the noise. But more information is better — even if it requires new skills on the part of us when it comes to filtering that information — and journalism, as once pointed out, tends to get better when more people do it. I am convinced today any free and critical citizen will (and must) strive to be a journalist. The official lies pile up so fast in Europe, US and Middle East you need to have wings to stay above it.

trust_the_lies_not_the-truth.

trust_the_lies_not_the-truth.

Today media are top notch blogs to me. Most media not even that anymore. In cases where I knew by chance the background, it seemed to me the quality press does definitely not care more than social media on the whole about checking sources or presenting the facts. In the economic crises, the lies distributed by the media are so evident to anyone, I started to process numbers and ignore politicians (and mass media). Newsweek is a perfect example that  new media will not simply replace old media, but rather will learn to interact with it in a complex relationship which is called “convergence culture.” Thus the move is not primarily a technological revolution but more a cultural shift, dependent on the l bidirectional and active participation of the information sources and sinks  working in a social dynamic. Today in many internet newspaper sites there is more information in the comment area than in the article, that means like many bookstores before Amazon, those journalists are living deads in their profession.

Hidden Censorship

Hidden Censorship

As I said before in another of my blogs, it is up to you to create order within this chaos and find the patterns that will help you to understand what is true, what could be true, and what is outright false. In order to do all this, you need to have a firm grip on what is objective and what is subjective, on not touched by the writer’s previous experiences or interests. It is verifiable by looking up facts numbers or performing mathematical calculations. Subjective is a statement that has been colored by the character of the writer. It is, I am sorry to say, also an element of trust and hunch. But often one knows a bit about a country or an event. If a source lies once, discard it. After all Journalists get paid and competition is fierce. The random journalist is like the court jester, he has no official interest or stakes. He or she will have opinions but not lie to get a pay cheque. In large media organizations, journalists and writers trained in critical thinking, analysis, research, and freedom of information values must undergo acculturation to the “common sense” of their organizational structure in order to remain employed. Understandings regarding objective reporting, standards of critical inquiry, sociopolitical perspectives, conflict of interests, and other abstract values are organizationally created and interpreted to new employees as “the way we do things.” These organizational values are understood instinctively through both word and  positive feedback  for the new employee’s advancement and promotion (if they bend or omit the truth).After all, there is nothing illogical about this process. Monetary capital seeks the most profitable return on investment, and media/information technology properties are seen as the future growth market of the world. Furthermore lots of stakeholder money belongs to cultural opinionated and access to the powerful needs to be earned. Literature and fine art is similar, one is able to see better things in self press blogs not censored by marketing than the contemporary stuff which hangs and sits in plushy museums.

One thought and lot of credit to WordPress, they are culture changer too. I love to fly with them. I started this Blog just for myself and this blog got about 10,000 views in 2012. As the report encourages, “if every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 16 years to get that many views”. I guess, on my topic some sort of niche, it is not too bad. I thank my readers for the interest. What is equally important to me – the readers came from 102 countries in all. Most visitors came from Germany. The United States & Switzerland were not far behind. One top of this I learned a lot from my fellow bloggers. I am interested in cultures, to reach out globally – more modest to be understood globally – is one of my major goals.

The last day of the year - Walk in the Park

The last day of the year – Walk in the Park

Thanks for an exiting year. I started this Blog to sort my thoughts. I am “wordly” as well as visual. In the this year I have met people who gave me complete new insights, I could “watch” bloggers with excellent writing style and excellent photographers and learn from them. I will keep Newsweek if they keep up their quality, but still feel a bit sad not having a paper copy anymore. Time is critical, I know – in the words of Pope Benedict the XVI:

The faster we can move, the more efficient our time-saving appliances become, the less time we have. And God? The question of God never seems urgent. Our time is already completely full. But matters go deeper still. Does God actually have a place in our thinking? Our process of thinking is structured in such a way that he simply ought not to exist. Even if he seems to knock at the door of our thinking, he has to be explained away. If thinking is to be taken seriously, it must be structured in such a way that the “God hypothesis” becomes superfluous. There is no room for him. Not even in our feelings and desires is there any room for him. We want ourselves. We want what we can seize hold of, we want happiness that is within our reach, we want our plans and purposes to succeed. We are so “full” of ourselves that there is no room left for God. And that means there is no room for others either, for children, for the poor, for the stranger.

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