Video killed the Radio Star

Rob and I sat on our front verandah over a crisp Arneis on Saturday night and nattered about important issues. Like where the new vegie garden will go, if we should get chooks, and about Old Media v New Media. He’s pretty clever, so I told him he should write a blog post about it. This is it.

We interrupt normal programming to cross live to the Court of Public Opinion to hear the opening address for the defence in the highly anticipated case of Old Media vs New Media…

Your honour, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. I stand today in defence of my client, New Media, in this egregious waste of this esteemed court’s time. Had we our way none of us would be here but as the plaintiff appears hell bent on attempting to prosecute their case against my client, I welcome the opportunity to speak on my client’s behalf.  Over the course of this trial, this court will hear fairy tales about New Media, and the spuriousness of the plaintiff’s case will be writ large for all to see. No doubt the plaintiff will talk about how New Media is an unregulated free-for-all, where ethical standards of journalism are treated like a red-headed step child. We will hear from them impassioned pleas, skilfully constructed, portraying New Media as being single-handedly responsible for the wilful destruction of the English language and the attempted murder of the grammatically correct sentence. They will no doubt accuse the New Media landscape of providing sanctuary to the rogue apostrophe and of harbouring excessive exclamation marks. They will try to paint my client as the modern equivalent of the boiled lolly, luring unsuspecting victims and trapping them in a fragmented world filled with narcissism and cats doing cute things.

While I have no doubt that your honour would prefer I jump straight to the part where I dance ‘Gangnam Style’ and sit down, I would first like to ask the court’s leave to refute some of the claims outlined in the plaintiff’s case against my client.

To the charge that New Media is an unregulated hot bed of unethical goings on I put it to the court that this argument against my client is predicated upon an outdated understanding of the New Media landscape. While it is undeniable that there are some awful blogs out there, with grammar and spelling that would turn my mother pale and have her muttering about the ‘death of the English language’, the bloggersphere has taken great strides in recent times towards a far more professional ‘industry’. Disclosure is the catch-cry of the day and regulation is seen by most as a welcome and inevitable step. Professionalisation is not a dirty word in blogging – indeed it appears to be the goal. My client doesn’t make the claim that all blogs and bloggers are above board, adhere to standards of accuracy and disclosure and make every endeavour to use the English language correctly. However, if I could paraphrase our honourable Prime Minister, if Old Media wants to know what that looks like, it doesn’t need to bring a case before this court, it needs a mirror.

Your honour, we understand that Old Media, where the headline and not the by-line attracts the reader, must look over the fence with some level of envy at the freedom the New Media have to frame their own editorial and where the individual is the primary draw card. However, envy alone is not justification for bringing such charges against my client before this court.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Jury, I ask that you indulge me while I outline the clear motivations of the plaintiff in their attempt to sully the good name of my client. 

Do not go gentle into that good night…Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

It is only natural when one’s existence, one’s very being, is threatened to fight as hard as a fat kid would fight for the last piece of chocolate cake in the world. I put it to the court that the motivation for the baseless attacks on New Media stem from Old Media doing their best hungry Augustus Gloop impersonation. It is fear that is driving the litigant to attack my client. Fear of their imminent demise. It is the same fear that drove music companies to take on file sharing sites. It is the same fear that sees television networks ‘fast-tracking’ new episodes of Two and a Half Men. It is a fear of mortality and as such they are raging against the dying of the light by attacking my client in a vain attempt to prolong their own existence.

But, if it pleases the court, allow me to hold Old Media’s hand and tell them it will be OK so we can all hopefully go home. You see, it is our opinion that Old Media will not die, they may get a new haircut and a tattoo, but they’ll still be here. Sure New Media will take their slice of the readers and therefore their slice of the financial pie (or chocolate cake) but Old Media will become even Older Media in the same way that despite the music biz’s shrill-banshee screaming we still have One Direction. And that despite TV’s confused mutterings about how to reach 17 year olds who seem to spend all their time on ‘the youtubes’ they fail to realise that everyone is only 17 for a year of their lives and when they have jobs, kids, and are tired at the end of the day they are still going to plonk in front of a box to be passively entertained. Mild audience fragmentation is undeniable but then so is the human condition known as laziness.

And finally ladies and gentlemen of the Jury, by way of summing up I ask you to consider one of the great trials of our lifetime: the murder case of Video vs the Radio Star. As time has demonstrated, Video was clearly not guilty of killing the radio star. Alan Jones is proof of that. And for a time he even co-existed happily with his VCR.

The defence rests.

Hit the music.


  1. Just brilliant. Truly. Although I do think music videos kind of killed radio. But maybe that was only in the States.

  2. Brilliant!

  3. Excellent. Not only is he clever, he’s entertaining too.

  4. I love this!

  5. Haha! V funny.

  6. When do we get the video of Rob dancing Gangnam style?

    Great post!

  7. Your honour, can I approach the bench? Is it too late to abort the mission?

    Interesting you mention Augustus Gloop. He is EXACTLY who I impersonated in an African hotel buffet breakfast every morning in Niger when I went there as a blogger to cover a dreadful food crisis … something that would usually get covered by old’ media. I was really inappropriately hungry. And I admitted it, in a personal and true way that is characteristic of a blogger.

    The digital landscape has changed so much, just in the past six months. I hope it can grow and sustain. I hope we are building a positive legacy for our children.

  8. I read this earlier and enjoyed it, but I’ve had one of Oprah’s “ah ha” moments after seeing Media Watch tonight!

  9. Oh Beverley…..Oh MY…..

    You sure do have a clever one there…*fans self*.

    Nothing like a man who can write to light the fire in mah belly.

    Perhaps a 2nd Mac Family blog should be in the making??

    Spectacularly written Roberto, spectacular.

  10. Love it.

  11. haha! One of your best I think 🙂 Interesting times for those in old or new media – and perhaps old media might get a bit new and new media might get a bit old…and video didn’t kill the radio star! So true 🙂

  12. Sarah Owen-Green says

    Props to the man of the house! Thoroughly enjoyed that.

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