24 June 2007

"New Media" Thoughts

‘New Media’ Program Seeks Opportunities in 24/7 Global Networks

Since its launch in October, the New Media office has worked to develop personal relationships with military “bloggers” and online journalists, improve and expand the department’s Web presence and usability, embrace content-sharing sites such as YouTube and MySpace, and make communications products available on devices like cell phones, iPods and MP3 players.
After Desert Storm, there was much discussion in the military about the "new media" (pdf) and the "CNN Effect." Over the past 15 years, "new media" has taken on a whole new meaning.

The new "new media" has had a significant impact on the old "new media" and its role as gatekeepers of one-way information conduits between news sources and the people. This impact represents a shift in who can be a news source and how news sources communicate over different media platforms.

It's important to recognize that the old "new media" still retains significant resources to reach many people around the world and will continue to attract news sources that want to communicate through those resources. However, the new "new media" provides additional platforms for reaching out not just globally, but also to niche communities. News sources now seek out both old and new "new media" to get out their message and influence public opinion domestically and globally.

It is with this understanding of the changing media environment that I read Armchair Generalist's review of Sir General Rupert Smith's "The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World." I was struck by this excerpt from the book:
The political leader and the commander expect the reporter to tell his story as he would wish it to be told and as he told it to the journalist. But the journalist sees them as the source of his story, and the events and meetings of the day are presented to support this story rather than that of the political or military leader. I am not suggesting either party is deliberately twisting or spinning the story (although that happens). Rather the media claim to be objective, and tend not to be, whilst political and military leaders persistently expect the objectivity of a shared perception where one is most unlikely to exist. In other words, they know the media is not objective - yet they still speak to it, use it, become disappointed and complain. This is mainly because they seek a platform or at best a conduit, not understanding that the media is a medium in which all events are mixed, presented as if happening concurrently and all of the same importance, reported in tiny digestible chunks - then discarded.
I wonder if Smith is aware of Allison Barber, Bloggers Roundtables, Liveblogging Joint Urban Warrior 07 and the many other changes in the military- media landscape. Military leaders that express disappointment and complain about the old "new media" lack imagination and understanding of the new media environment.

Times have changed. If you're complaining that the media isn't objective, you're going to get rolling of the eyes more than nodding of the head.

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