Fighting in print, fighting online

Two local papers in London presented different views on the same neighborhood story. Unsurprisingly, the paper that requires a subscription reported a more negative spin on the news, while the council-run paper championed the positive. Is it little surprise then that the paid-for newspaper lacks as broad a readership and robust advertisement revenue as the happily upbeat free paper?

The same commentary on the battle between local papers on their last legs offers this positive spin for the future:

I’m bound to say that the independent voice – or voices – to hold local power to account in future look as if they will be raised entirely online. This is a matter to celebrate rather than lament.

Initially, start-up websites and blogs may well be negative too. There will be a wild west period. But sensible, moderate voices will surely emerge due to greater public participation.

Print journalists already make too much of the supposed anarchy on the net. I seem to recall from reading newspaper histories that similar hysteria greeted newspapers in the 17th century. Order will eventually arise, and maybe more swiftly than many critics believe.


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