Monday, February 06, 2012

Below the Line

As the British Dude says, the key driver in falling employment in manufacturing is the rise in productivity created by the harnessing of new technology. Charlie Brooker gives a good example of this from a non-manufacturing context here. Charlie is working on a technique that's well known in reporting, but is relatively new in political comment: out-sourcing your work to random idiots on the internet.

Last time we saw this, he dedicated the bulk of his column to hilarious tweets his followers had come up with. This time, he's circumvented even this limited amount of research and just printed out part of a Daily Mail comment thread. With hilarious consequences.

Now, think about this from a resources perspective. Before the internet age, none of this article would have been possible. The original report on which the Mail's article was based would either never have been carried out (since it is itself little more than an advanced form of trolling) or would at least have remained in Brock University, Ontario, in the obscurity it so merits. Without the wearying, miserable phenomenon that is the anonymous comment thread under newspaper articles, there would have been no stupidity for Brooker to cut and paste.

In the time it would have taken to research and write a comment article himself, an aspiring comment journalist can whip up at least five lazy, choir-preaching pieces derived exclusively from sources no more than a quick google away. No wonder employment (and pay) is falling on Fleet Street.

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