"Justice department, Entertainment division."
The line comes from the movie The Running Man, when an official answers the phone. The setting is a dystopic future where media is controlled by a tyrannic government, which uses media to broadcast wanton violence as entertainment, painting its adversaries as horrible people who deserve what's coming to them.
It didn't happen that way. Instead, the old news services voluntarily surrendered their roles as watchdogs of the government, firing investigative reporters and shedding investigative capability in a multi-decade process under the label "cost-cutting", thereby reducing the value they provided from "reporting" to "entertainment" - while still presenting as reporting, for the sake of their own dignity.
Today, oldmedia - all oldmedia - have reduced themselves to propagandistic mouthpieces for regimes that reek of nepotism and corruption. Regimes that are capable and willing to poison the newswell, in combination with self-labeled "news services" that forward their propaganda as unquestioned truth. Unquestioned because questioning wasn't profitable.
The result hasn't landed too far from justifying wanton governmental violence as entertainment.
The good news is that the Internet has crashed their ability to do this. Specifically, their business customer is no longer the same as their utility customer. Oldmedia is craving traffic; they're desperately trying to get people to read their pieces at their place, for that's the only way they know how to serve advertising. But they don't even know that, to be honest: the first thing people do today is to install adblockers.
So oldmedia's utility customer - the person taking part of the service - is no longer the same person as oldmedia's business customer - the person providing business. But oldmedia's entire business model depends on them being one and the same. Therefore, oldmedia will fail.
However, there are other ways of reporting and making a business out of it, once you let go of the restraints you don't really have anymore. The numbers say we can not only restore reporting as a concept, but that we can outcompete the complacent oldmedia on a pure business playing field.
Our reason for being is that oldmedia have willingly, in a multi-decade process, reduced themselves to propaganda mouthpieces for regimes that are plagued by corruption and nepotism. This is not just in poorer parts of the world - it's a global phenomenon. The numbers show we can outcompete oldmedia on purely commercial merit, all while bringing reporting back to the plate. So that's what we're doing, that's our raison d'être.
There are two predominant trends in how people want to understand the world today. The first trend is brief, real-time reporting. ("The national hotel in Pyongyang is on fire.") The second is long, in-depth, time-insensitive analysis - understanding why a development took place. Such analysis can easily be posted a month or two after the development in question and still be very interesting.
But oldmedia persists in printing 800-word pieces from yesterday's internet - the middle road which isn't so interesting anymore, it's neither realtime nor analysis - and then having the audacity to call their former customers selfish and greedy when they're not buying anymore.
A third and final aspect, which also relates to the tight ties to government, is the illusion of borders. I live in Sweden, Europe. I don't know what happened in Portugal yesterday. I don't know what happened in France or Germany. I don't even know what happened in Norway, Denmark, or Finland.
There's our first mission, and we call it Heartbeat reporting - bridging borders with heartbeats from all corners of the world. We're starting out in Europe to learn this game, bridging borders and outcompeting the old guard. That's our bridgehead. We'll grow from there to cover the globe and to add analysis.
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