Monday, June 30, 2008

Irish Times Free to Access Online Once More

How heartening it is to go online this morning and see that the Irish Times is free to access online once more. The Irish media space has become a strangely narrow one, and it’s essential that a voice as strong as the Irish Times’ be heard. The world is now more globalised than ever before, with huge commercial behemoths crushing through cultural borders to flog product mercilessly, and unique cultural voices are needed if we’re not to be subsumed into the general mush.

The different print, radio and TV media are essential to the preservation of these voices, but the three strands of media are no coalescing as never before, because of the advent of internet technology. The media has changed unrecognisably in the past fifteen years, as the very way that we information is presented has changed. It’s no longer necessary to wait until the six o’clock news on the TV to find out what’s happening – you can follow it all as it’s happening on the web.

The newspaper as we knew it has been consigned to history, and the Irish Times realises this. The trick is how best to combine the two elements – the immediacy of the online content, which can now also allow for live streaming – with the more measured, homme serieaux approach of the classic broadsheet newspaper. Some are adapting better than others - the Washington Post and Manchester Guardian sites are An Spailpín’s two favourite examples of how best to adapt to the new environment – but it’s a question now of keeping up or being left hopelessly behind. Three cheers then, for the Irish Times’ bold move to embrace the brave new world. I hope they succeed, and I hope that more follow. An Spailpín Fánach isn’t ready for a barcode on his backside just yet.

Technorati Tags: , , ,