Arianna Huffington, editor in chief of The Huffington Post, talking about the baby boom generation at the Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye, Wales, June 2014

A stimulating piece by Michael Massing in the latest edition of The New York Review of Books takes a look at the present state of online media: tunrs out in fact, it’s the first of three articles on the subject. While understandably skewed in the direction of US media, plenty of the points he makes are relevant for a much wider audience, Europe included. Online media outlets covered in a wide-ranging analysis include Huffington Post (of course), Andrew Sullivan’s popular but now discontinued blog The Dish, The Drudge Report, Salon.com, Politico and ProPublica – most, but not all, of these publications being familiar names.

Massing argues – convincingly, I think – that a common feature of the initial wave of online media is that, having started out by developing pioneering new online approaches that produced a wide range of innovative and original media content, 10 years and some down the line many appear to be stuck in what he calls ‘middle-aged’ slackness. ‘They helped lead journalism out of the kingdom of traditional print and broadcasting into the liberating lad of the Internet’, he argues, ‘only to become stranded’.

Massing views Politico as pretty much the lone exception to this rule – and as someone who has recently taken to visiting their site occasionally, I definitely perked up at this point in the argument – not least because it is expanding its base beyond North America. In April this year, in partnership with German publishing behemoth Axel Springer, Politico launched a new European edition based in Brussels.

Even more strikingly, by the end of 2015 Politico’s European edition apparently expects to ‘have more reporters and editors covering European politics and policy than any other organization on [the] continent’. Which if it proves to be an accurate prognosis, would constitute an extraordinary media development – online or otherwise: not least for media consumers – and producers – living on the continent in question.

So, fellow Europeans: who’ll be the first of your acquaintainces to be signed up by Politico? Come to think of it, could it be you?

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/jun/04/digital-journalism-how-good-is-it/

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