Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact|
The Internet, and the WWW in particular, has dramatically changed the way
news is reported.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
There was a time when the only way you could learn about events around
the country and around the world was to wait for a lump of dead tree to be
delivered to your door each morning/evening, or tune in your radio/TV set
to the next scheduled broadcast.
This meant our news was often out of date and that the media had a huge
amount of control over what we were told and the way it was told.
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However, now that just about anyone can knock up a website with global coverage,
the power of the mainstream media has been eroded -- and perhaps it's just as well.
The recent Sky TV debacle has been an extremely interesting example of how
mainstream media seems to have been either oblivious or deliberately ignoring
a problem affecting 300,000 NZ households.
Perhaps I've missed it, but to the best of my recollection, TVNZ has said
nothing about the problems associated with the recent upgrade(?) of the
Sky TV software. I even tried searching the NZoom.com site for any hint of
coverage but came up empty.
What's going on here? I can't think of any other instance where such a fiasco
would have gone unnoticed by One News. Could it be that they're censoring
the news -- deliberately avoiding coverage so as not to upset their broadcast
But what about the NZ Herald -- the country's largest daily newspaper -- what
have they had to say?
They're a whole lot better than TVNZ and I recall that they've published
two stories on the matter
however their appearance in the "dialogue" and "entertainment" sections of the
paper seem to downplay the scope and significance of the problems somewhat.
The local (particularly TV) coverage of the Sky story leaves you wondering about
just how much other news is being carefully "avoided" by our major broadcasters
for reasons of self-interest.
Fortunately the Net has meant that at least some of us are able to dig beyond
the diet of 2-minute newsbytes and human-interest stories that we get fed on
the 6 o'clock news. Now we can choose from any number of independent news
sources and learn about world events from a totally different perspective.
This ability has meant that the truth need no longer be a casualty of war -- and
a growing number of small sites are busy trying to counter what they consider to
be the propaganda espoused by CNN, the BBC and other global broadcasters in
respect to the Afghanistan conflict.
Unfortunately, despite the ready availability of Net access, the vast majority
of Kiwis will remain passive "victims" of mainstream news coverage. Willing
to accept whatever they're told by publishers and broadcasters who may have
their own agenda when choosing or presenting the "news" -- never taking the
time to explore alternative sources and versions.
Fortunately, the fact that you're reading this means you're unlikely to be
a passive news consumer so pat yourself on the back. However, spare a thought
for just how many other people's knowledge and opinions of events are being shaped
by so few.
The Net has the power to broaden our horizons and provide a wider view of the
world -- but people must choose to use it for this purpose. Let's hope that
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Every month, Aardvark scores over half a million hits, at least 150K page views and
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All this traffic has meant that I've had to shift the site to a new server
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I also invest over 300 hours per year writing the daily column and compiling
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