New media wouldn’t exist if old media hadn’t been caught napping on the job

The rise of Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 General Election was remarkable for a number of reasons. It was remarkable because it galvanised a previously inactive portion of the electorate. It was remarkable because it shook up the political norm. But mostly it was remarkable because the media, who purportedly have their ear to the ground, missed one of the biggest political scoops of a generation.

Much has changed in the media industry over the past decade, with the rise of social media and digital formats changing how news is distributed and consumed remarkably. It has also democratised the industry, opening it up to new publications free from costly overheads and political and corporate influence.

Without them it could be argued that Corbyn would never have been given the air to challenge Theresa May’s Conservatives in 2017. In the same way Tony Blair relied on the Murdoch empire to bestow him a majority in ’97, Corbyn relied on “new media” to disseminate his messages, which they did with a large degree of success.

The problem with old media is that they had become so consumed in their own bubble that they were caught napping on the job. As Evolve Politics editor Matt Turner wrote here, media concentration and the market model had turned the press into lapdogs, not watchdogs, leaving the door open for the new guard to take their place.

Edelman Trust Barometer

But according to the 2018 Trust Barometer released by Edelman today the dawn of new media has left the industry at a funny point.

While there is a renewed faith in the profession of journalism, trust in the media has fallen significantly with 59 per cent of respondents saying it is becoming harder to tell if a piece of news was produced by a “respected media organisation”.

The results come after players such as Google and Facebook revert back to the old guard by pigeon-holing all new media as untrustworthy and unreliable, something that could make the industry even more concentrated still.

But here’s the rub.

If old media was so trustworthy then how did it miss the political scoop of a generation?

If it is so trustworthy, why is nearly 70 per cent of national newspaper circulation being controlled by only three different companies?

Traditional doesn’t always translate to “the most trustworthy” – you only have to look at the front pages of the Daily Mail or Express to see that.

Its high time the media market undergoes a significant shakeup, and it’s new media that is going to instigate it.


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