Independent’s Day

In for a penny in for a pound is a very old English saying. Mr Lebedev is in for quite a few of the pounds, in total 9.25 million of them in liability payments from the previous owners of the paper.

What impresses me totally about Mr Lebedev is his attitude about publishing. He does not treat newspapers as business but as responsibility. He adds: “I think newspapers are the only instrument which, through investigative reporting, can ferret out everything about international corruption.”

This quote was taken from AFP news as published on Yahoo news today.

Quite right I agree, newspapers play with our minds a lot and have considerable impact on what we think and influence our decision-making process that goes beyond the purchase of our daily necessities, which of course is regulated by our budgets.

Mr Lebedev also co-owns at a 49% stake a Russian paper that is critical of the Kremlin, together with former Soviet leader Michael Gorbachev.  Hence he must know how powerful the media can be in building people’s perception of their political leaders. I now start to understand why the UK leftwing press denounces Lebedev as right-wing because the UK’s left-wing press today is of couse pro-Kremlin.

I am glad that publishers still wish to rely on printed media as it is more reliable than online digital publications, though electronically published material – whilst available – has the wider readership.

The Times newspapers is soon to start charging their online readers and that brings the quality argument into online publishing. That it is not just about exercising power over readers by making them read something that is freely available but telling people, if you want to read quality content, then please pay for it, quality is important and not just quantity.

There are these two main strategies in publishing at the moment, either give it away for free and capture readers mind’s en mass or make them pay for quality reporting, an interesting development that still should not encourage some publishers to give out trashy untrue publications because they do have the opportunity to do so.

Another old saying is “We know where it comes from”. Yet the quality of truth in publishing is at stake as the press’s reliance on fact reporting has often spread out to pictorial phantasy stimulation. Maybe there is not enough market to carry a wide variety of publications and we will see a reduction in publications, yet that can have advantages as one has less to read to filter through the trash.

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