While reading the January edition of â€œLe Monde diplomatiqueâ€, I stumbled upon two articles illustrating a new position for the traditional media in relationship with the Internet. The first one, â€œMenaces sur lâ€™informationâ€ (â€œA threat against the informationâ€) written by Ignacio Ramonet (online version is here) points out the new difficulties for the traditional media in France (Liberation is a given example). Although the masses are migrating online and the â€œfreeâ€ newspapers became no.1 on the market, they raise a credibility mark upon the new media and the new evolutions. This article also presents the official position for â€œLe Monde diplomatiqueâ€ â€“ theyâ€™re not afraid of the new tendencies because the educated public will still look up quality articles and verified stories and even will pay for this.
The second article is more complex and presents another side of the Internet (the article is available only in the printed edition). The original title â€œLes bÃ©nÃ©ficiaires inattendus du miracle Internetâ€ (â€œThe unexpected beneficiaries of the internet miracleâ€) – by Eric Klinenberg is an article presenting the manipulators, the cheats, the impostors and the swindlers as the core winners in this game. Examples like the 602p law presented in the last US election campaign or the usage of DHMO (actually H20) made the politicians and the journalists to pay more attention on the Internet.
Meanwhile, the traditional media has the advantage of credibility transfer from the printed edition to the online edition, meaning that people will still look up their daily news on their trusted websites.
The second idea presented by Eric Klinenberg is regarding the social role of the Internet. According to the specialists at the University of California, in the United States, over 21% of the general population never used the Internet in 2005 and 33% donâ€™t have a home Internet connection. The most important fact is that less that 50% of the connected people use the full multimedia features of their broadband connections and they are limited in their surfing habits to the websites indicating a major TV station or a major newspaper. The blogging and the independent media is in fact a concept that is not applicable for the masses.
The social role of the Internet is also pointed out by the Gothamist blog example â€“ educated people who have access to the Internet can discuss online and pressure the local authorities in order to influence the decision making. On the other hand, the poor communities are not making it easy for the â€œgoverning over the Internetâ€ policies and are underprivileged.
The final conclusion of the article states that new media will not be as free as we think as a small number of giant-companies will control the market and will favor only a part of the population.