Andrey Mir’s previous book, “Human as Media”, was a little masterpiece that accounted for the large transformations brought about by the “emancipation of authorship” in the internet. His latest book, “Postjournalism and the Death of Newspapers”, may be the most profound analysis of the subject since the last time Marshall McLuhan wrote about it.
The book argues persuasively that the flight of advertisers to the web has killed off a growing list of daily newspapers and driven the biggest names among them to a desperate gamble: selling membership in a political cause and commodifying polarization. “Journalism is descriptive,” Mir explains, “while postjournalism is normative.” In the age of Trump, this business model worked. Entering the paywall of the New York Times became for millions a token of political virtue and right thinking. But even in the medium term, Mir maintains, as a generation that has never known a physical newspaper takes center stage, the strategy is doomed – and newspapers are facing an “extinction event.” That postjournalism’s most valuable commodity, Donald Trump, has had his reality-TV presidency cancelled means the disaster should occur sooner rather than later.
Postjournalism manages to map the breadth of our madcap media environment without losing any depth of analysis; to the extent that chaos can be understood, the reader of “Postjournalism” will walk away wiser about his place in the asylum. Mir describes a universe in which the news now chases the reader rather than the other way around, and social media is an extended commercial pitch while commercial brands themselves become media. Everything is told in a wonderful epigrammatic style – you will be digging up quotes from it for years…
Totally recommended. In fact, if I were king of the world, I would command everyone to read “Postjournalism“. It would make talking to them about media that much easier.
My review of The revolt of the public:
The Revolt of the Public and Media Ecology. By Andrey Mir, March 16, 2015.