Li Ching – and other ways of catching up

Posted on December 10, 2007 by

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This blog was started to monitor the forthcoming election in the Maltese Islands. The idea also stemmed out of the need felt by two bloggers to examine how the Maltese political landscape will react to the internet and all that goes with it. Little did we appreciate at the time that probably one of the stakeholders that would be most revolutionised by the new media would be the old media itself.

I had a theory that the internet would spawn more open debate – politicians with their blogs, individuals with their own blogs, groups with their websites and inevitably improved websites by the traditional media stakeholders. The overall readership (and consequent specific internet demos) would increase and the interaction would bring about better participation. One effect I did not envisage is the failure of some of the media to catch up and the interesting twist that this would bring about. I have a specific case in mind: The Malta Independent. Already short on the opinion column list, the Indy’s solution has been to “leech” information from the new forum. How? Easy… cut and paste style. I do not intend to cast judgement on this method.

In terms of readership the new phenomena of blogs and websites can only gain through this kind of advertisement. It does speak volumes though about the resources available to the local printed media. MaltaToday struggled after a mini-exodus of columnists. It seems to have found its revolutionary feet but still hesitates to publish its net version on the same day as it goes to print. I wonder what marketing surveys have to say about this. Are more copies being sold by holding the net version for about three days? Doesn’t MaltaToday lose on the relevance of its information in the debate on the ether? Less interest in outdated articles is generated on the internet cross-linking debates, less internet readership caught in the long term trap. My guess is that newspaper browsing habits are being formed now and MaltaToday still remains an afterthought at the end of the week…

As for the Indy’s ingenious way of staying with the flow check out George Pullicino’s latest “contribution” to the paper here (http://www.independent.com.mt/news.asp?newsitemid=61670. Admittedly it took more than cutting and pasting this time round. Someone had to translate the fare from George Pullicino’s blog.

Your TMC reporter

Jacques René Zammit (Liberal/Christian-Democrat)

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Posted in: Media & Politics