Wednesday, 4 January 2017

The Campaign For Real News


As we know, mainstream news brewers such as the BBC are deeply concerned about an internet trend towards real news. As yet they are resisting calls to brew real news themselves, insisting that their fizzy, pasteurised concoctions are what the market demands. This is due to their traditional reluctance to tell the hoi polloi what is going on plus an understandable reluctance to find out first.

It’s all down to cost you see. As with almost all other products, real news is expensive to produce and mainstream news brewers find it far more cost effective to satisfy their readers with the ersatz variety. Guardian readers have even been known to make a virtue of preferring ersatz news to the real thing, a kind of inverse snobbery like the glottal stop or pretending that yoghurt pots can be recycled.

It comes as no surprise when mainstream outlets for mass-produced news fight back against the Real News Campaign, claiming it isn’t news at all and certainly cannot be classed with that virtually unobtainable product, so-called “genuine news.”

Yet more sophisticated tastes are more demanding. We see that in so many areas of life and it isn’t about to go away. The trend towards a more demanding public has deep roots. One has only to recall the demise of Watneys Red Barrel, a pasteurised beer foisted on the public in the nineteen sixties and early seventies. Eventually beer drinkers tired of drinking fizzy brown aqueous alcohol and demanded something more genuine.

Now the wheel turns again and the Watneys Red Barrel phenomenon has morphed into a similar problem with ersatz news. Currently mainstream news is cheap to brew and entirely designed around mass production for an undiscerning market. Increasingly it won’t do but mainstream news brewers have not prepared themselves for the added costs and complications of a more sophisticated product such as real news.

For the discerning news consumer, real news is an altogether more satisfying product. Crafted from traditional values and often literate it is made with care and a degree of honesty entirely unknown to the behemoths of the news market. Will the big guys go the way of Watneys Red Barrel or will they come up with a real news product of their own? If they do come up with a real news product how will they report it? 


Sam Vega said...

"Will the big guys go the way of Watneys Red Barrel or will they come up with a real news product of their own?"

My guess is that they'll initially try to have their beer and drink it. Expect changed presentation and packaging so that it looks like real news, served by mine host from a proper pint pot with authentic froth on the top. But it'll be the same piss as before with a few extra ingredients.

The public expect 24-hr. rolling news entertainment, and I don't think any real journalism and subbing can deliver that.

The BBC will turn into Wetherspoons.

Henry Kaye said...

Even if the media in general decided to try to deliver "real news", they would have one hell of a problem discovering it!

Demetrius said...

Watneys went into mergers etc. and the end of a long story is that Diageo is where it all became. That is the devils brew or thinking of Red Barrel, diabolical. Harris I feel faint, pray fetch me a brandy.

A K Haart said...

Sam - from what little I see, the BBC is having a bash at making their product look like real news by getting the presenter to stand up as if the stories are too exciting to deliver from a sitting position. I don't think their hearts are in it though.

Henry - they would also need people who could make a stab at interpreting it in a neutral, informed and reasonably concise way.

Demetrius - a Diageo brandy Sir?

Ed P said...

Pedant alert!
Hoi Polloi means "the people", so the hoi polloi is the the people.
Just saying - I'll get me coat

A K Haart said...

Ed - quite right but to most of us 'tell hoi polloi' would sound clumsy.