The Twitter effect - Macleans.ca

The Twitter effect

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This speech from Hugh Winsor is a few months old, but likely remains relevant, perhaps even as an inadvertent commentary on the election just passed.

University of Guelph historian William Christian once wrote that “Parliamentary democracy is what you can get away with.” In many ways, the media establish the limits of  what the government of the day can ‘get away with” and so there is a direct correlation between the vigour, intellect,  judgement, relevance and financial stability of the media and the quality of our civil society.

My concerns about media’s inadequate scrutiny  of the current government and the current Parliament are inevitably tangled up with  the massive structural changes that are coursing through the media industry … Those structural changes are not my principal thrust, however. Rather, it is  changes in attitude and philosophy that concern me more, regardless of the format. One of the biggest impacts of the new platforms is the massive ramping up of the pressure for immediacy … The emphasis on  immediacy means that coverage is essentially episodic, dealing with the here and now, with little context and almost zero followup.