Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Episode 24: Sponsored Discontent

Play now!

Pick up the news, or tune in. Whichever. Zoom in to the content; don't just read or hear it, but really, really delve into the message. Does any element seem out of place? In Episode 24, Sponsored Discontent, I review what has become one of the only ways modern commercial newspapers (especially the newspapers, since the crash of classifieds as a near-monopolistic funding source) have been able to pay for their continued publication: sponsored or branded content. Essentially, an interested party "helps" newspapers with the content of their, well, "news," those scare quotes becoming more and more relevant.

I read a bit from two books. The first, Robert W. McChesney's and John Nichols' The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution That Will Begin the World Again (First Nation Books, 2010, p 13); the second, Robert McChesney's Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning The Internet Against Democracy (The New Press, 2013, p. 59).

I grabbed quite a bit of informative content from Episode 37 of Canadaland, where Jesse Brown interviews Matthew Ingram about the situation at one of Canada's most influential daily newspapers. What management is asking in contract negotiations might surprise!

We also hear from The Daily Show's Jason Jones in India with an equally surprising revelation about that country's newspaper system.

Music in this episode comes from Halloween doing "Making Evil" and Teleidofusion doing "Soft Illusion."


  1. Posting from the future, way out in Feb 2017. During the 2016 election we saw news media almost completely abandon any pretense of neutrality to try to slag their non-favored candidate. It was... clarifying.

    1. Yup. And we also saw the end result of their abandoned journalistic credentials, didn't we? Cause => Effect. Sad, sad effect.