The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Friday, April 9, 2010

Traditional media is operating in a time-warp

Getting very bored reading traditional media. Their "news" is nothing of the sort. In fact, I now scan the print press only to look for that one pearl of insight, which is, truth be told, increasingly rare. Here I am referring to the exception to traditional media's convention of recycling old content that has already been analysed to death by a growing online army.

Sadly, these insights are almost never delivered by their inhouse columnists, who simply do not have the depth of expertise to add any serious value over and above what we have already read.

No, they are much more likely to come from independent contributors--a Saul Eslake, Andrew Leigh or Stephen Kirchner.

The situation has deteriorated to the point where nowadays I know what almost all columnists are going to say just by looking at the headline: run-of-the-mill analysis of stale content that is dated in days. I guess the sooner traditional media wholly discards the patterns of the print cycle the better (and they are not doing so by simply throwing up some anodyne news summaries and light opinion during the day).

Another thing I have noticed is that most traditional columnists appear to be struggling with our hedonistic real-time demands for thoughtful analysis.

In the past, they typically had several days during which to develop and refine their views. That window has now been compressed down to a matter of hours if they want to remain genuinely relevant to their readers. It is easy to see how some old-school journos struggle with the exacting expectations of an online audience.

On the other hand, there are those that are thriving in the new environment. A great example of the latter is business columnist, Steve Bartholomeusz, who has demonstrated a remarkable capacity to punch out detailed streams of value-added opinion at regular intervals during the working day.