Internet Manifesto

Online, online, online. Everything is moving online…but does this mean the end to offline? Techno enthusiasts have been speculating about the death of the newspaper industry since any invention came along with the ability to mutate media and serve it up differently to ink on paper.

The wireless, the television, 24-hour news satellite channels and now the internet are all supposed to have eclipsed the previous models; so why are The Times, The Daily Mirror and The Sun still around? I do not for a second deny that their readership numbers have dwindled, or that their profits aren’t as healthy as in years gone by. But isn’t there something satisfying about picking up a paper and flicking through at your leisure; whether it’s over breakfast with your family or commuting on a train?

The 17-point Internet Manifesto set out by a group of German Journalists seems to bypass the issue of customer satisfaction and obsesses only on the need for speed, accuracy and our desire for more, more, more – by enlarge ignoring the existence of print media. Whilst journalists may salivate at the thought of a newsroom in cyberspace that boasts an infinite amount of bulletins and broadcasts at the touch of a button, we are not the only ones who use the internet and we are by no means representative of the masses who are reluctant to catch an update from Trevor McDonald in the evening.

While the document is largely inoffensive, I do resent being told that if I don’t interact with the internet then I am ‘excluding myself from social discourse’. How about interacting with real people instead of a machine that will no doubt inflict RSI and poor posture onto me as I am encouraged to spend an increasing amount of time in front of it? I agree that ‘the media must adapt their work methods to today’s technological reality instead of ignoring or challenging it’, but having said this, you cannot assume that every wants to digest their news in the same way and therefore ignore the existence of current forms.

I would agree with the Liverpool Echo journalist Alison Gow who points out that one thing wrong with the 17 points is that ‘they are on …the internet’ and therefore cannot be accessed by the realms of the computer illiterate.

What about countries like Vietnam or Turkey where the internet is very much restricted and popular sites like youtube have been banned? If you rely solely on the internet for your information then rather than increasing your freedom it can put further limitations on it.


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