@Paul0Evans1 Hmm. Why would entrepreneurs set up new media outlets? Why might I invest in them? Is my blog a media outlet? NGO newsltr?
I’m fascinated in particular by the first two questions. One, for linguistic reasons. Two, for quite practical ones.
The first can be interpreted in two slightly different – but important – ways. “Why would entrepreneurs set up new media outlets?” doesn’t mean quite the same as “Why would entrepreneurs set up new media outlets?” And knowing the difference between the two and understanding the implications of such a difference might, in turn, very well help to answer the second of the four questions in this lovely 140-character summary of what may now excitingly face us in the aftermath of Rupert Murdoch’s humiliating – though possibly tactical – climbdown over BSkyB. As another tweet not a few minutes ago pointed out with cautious wisdom:
Nice to see Murdoch humiliated, but too early to gloat. This is a guy whose childhood sled was called ‘Crush All Enemies Without Hesitation’
Anyhow – back to the subject of this post. Real entrepreneurs – those who challenge existing ways of thinking – absolutely thrive in markets which tend more towards freedom than monopoly. Indeed, one of the basic functions of entrepreneurs in what we might term a wider society is to ensure that monopolistic competition – towards which all modern capitalism seems to wish to tend – is given a salutary jolt every so often.
If Mr Lancaster wants a good reason to invest in either new media outlets or new media outlets, post-Rupert Murdoch as has been, then the above reason could one of the first he might wish to consider: for only in a society where communication is free and considered can business be conducted in the kind of radical and constructive ways that these true entrepreneurs I talk about seem to prefer to avail themselves of. It is in all businesses’ interests then – all businesses, that is, which care to conduct their business ethically (or would prefer to) – for the media to operate with transparency; for the media in our country to reflect, to argue with and to challenge our shakers and makers in such a way that true dialogue – and not a simply sterile set of occasional consultations – becomes par for the course in our society.
“Why might I invest in them?” Why, indeed … Because, essentially, for particularly businesslike reasons, it would lay the foundations for a better business culture. When the Fourth and Fifth Estates communicate adult-like and with genuine interest in the issues at hand, so the businesspeople who will generate our wealth will know far more clearly that the ground rules are going to be grown-up and sincere.
And they will know that when they go into business, they can expect to be treated with coherence and understanding.
If the pact between our politicians and the media can convert itself in something rather more transparent and outgoing, it won’t only be the voters who’ll be able to heave a sigh of relief:
Do we now need to re-evaluate the House of Commons? Has it finally redeemed itself after MPs’ expenses? #hackgate #bskyb
It’ll also be our businesspeople who’ll know there’ll be one less thing to worry about – that is to say, the ever-present and bedevilled choice between a moral exchange on the one hand and underhandedness on the other will become far less problematic when we are able to create a society which visibly rejects the antics of the spivs and fly-by-nights.
What is really facing us, as we contemplate the rack and ruin which Rupert Murdoch’s methods will surely end up bringing to the investors in News Corp, is an opportunity to refashion a society. After the dictatorship of cultural life which News International has effected on British society – that “spell which is now broken” as I think Ed Miliband was reported as having said in a Spectator interview today – there is now a clear opportunity to decide how we can proceed: an illuminating and liberating opportunity, in fact, to start constructively at some kind of “year zero”.
What we really want from our media is that ability to engage at a peer-to-peer level – a dialogue between equals; a conversation where politics is no longer an evil game but, rather, an enabling device to improve the lot of everyone. And if we are to achieve this, then starting from scratch – realising in time that we actually do have that opportunity to wipe the slate clean and redo our media landscape – is about the most important thing we may yet be able to understand in the next six months to a year.