AF447, and media silence, has another explanation
Earlier today a reader drew attention to media indifference to the AF447 final report.
There is another reason for what appears to be complacency over air safety issues in this country, and that is the crisis that has overtaken print media, and its efforts to develop a sustainable constantly updated on-line interactive media alternative.
Every print media professional in Australia risks losing his or her job in the immediate future. Every one of them. Every printed newspaper and magazine risks closure. Every one of them.
The investment case for dedicated in depth reporting and analysis in many fields, most of them much more important than air transport and the public administration of safety, does not exist. Even in politics, business, health, education, and social equity and justice, the investment cases have either seen roles abolished, or put under severe threat of consolidation, and with consolidation, diversity of analysis, reporting and regionally relevant perspectives are eliminated or marginalised.
The response to these pressures has often been to transfer power from reporters providing original material to their publications, to the PR sector that feeds its fabrications to content providers of the same publications in a survival mode where investments in real journalism are unaffordable.
Compromises are made. Media owners succumb to the temptations of being communications solutions for external interests rather than news organisations, and try to hide behind the banner of branded, high quality reporting and analysis when in some cases, they work on the basis of selecting their winners, losers and victims in advance.
In many cases, doing so accelerates a loss of public confidence in the branded product.
The entire apparatus of media management finds itself looking at investments sunk into influencing a legacy media world that is imploding before its eyes. It is scrambling to find salvation in social media, without, so far, much to show for it.
The dividends that media communications directors can point to in the current environment are more about a lack of coverage than favourable coverage.
However an industry that seeks justification in an absence of legacy media scrutiny is not likely to endure, and instead go the same way as print, which is into oblivion.
We are, in some publications, here and abroad, seeing the coverage of aviation matters descend to the level of why Justin Bieber prefers Boeings, or whether a passenger’s star sign makes them too fat to fly in economy.
Informed commentary is dropping towards the levels of being, ‘Airbus, Yeah!’ or ‘Boeing, Yeah’.
It is not a pretty sight. As far as I’m concerned, whatever criticisms might be made of my colleagues in print media, they ought to recognise the terrible reality that print professionals now face.
Those of us who work for ourselves on-line do not have it easy either. The lack of support and other resources is a constant frustration, even though there is no pressure to toe the line or pull punches as to how matters are reported or analysed.
My own business plan is to grow 90% of my food by the end of next year and sell enough of the surplus of farm grown to fund the balance. Really and truly. Life’s good.