July 24, 2009

CC and the MSM

Juan Cristóbal says: - As we close our final day of the Sullivan challenge, one of the interesting things this experience has brought home for me is how dependent blogging is on the information provided by the mainstream media (MSM). Our "business model" goes somewhat like this: we try and find out what's going on via Noticias 24, or Tal Cual, or El Universal or Globovision, and then we comment on it, and you people pitch in with additional insights. Once in a while we talk about things nobody is talking about, or write more deeply-felt, cerebral stuff. So while we rightly bemoan the status of the MSM, we must acknowledge our parasitic relationship with it. In fact, if the MSM goes away, I dunno what we would end up writing about. You can go ahead and call us hypocrites.

Newspapers all over the world are going bankrupt. Just yesterday, for example, my local newspaper printed its last edition after 174 years in circulation. So is too soon to start imagining a Venezuela without El Nacional or El Universal?

You know that's coming. Sources say that circulation for El Nacional is at a paltry 20,000 editions daily. El Universal, with its higher-brow attitude, can't be doing much better. As the demographics change and Internet penetration goes up, people are getting more and more of their news online and from the TV.

Not all of this is Chávez’s fault. In fact, I venture to say most of it isn't. This is a worldwide phenomenon that has its roots on the way technology is changing and on the emergence of sites such as Craigslist or eBay that provide low-cost competition to those pesky ads newspapers get their revenues from.

But it also has to do with how Venezuelan newspapers have decided to suck their way to the grave. Sometimes, reading Venezuelan newspapers makes me so angry with their lack of quality, I can't wait for them to close shop and finally get what they had coming to them.

And yet, here we are, free-riding on their work. It's a scary new world we are entering, one fraught with opportunity but also with significant perils. Because once the only reporters are those working for VEA and Panorama (you know those guys won't go out of business), where will we get the truth from?

Post 92 of 100 ... be careful what you wish for ...