Rappler vs Social Media: Money Matters

Part 1

Rappler vs Social Media: Money Matters

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In Maria Ressa’s continuing crusade to “take back the internet,” Rappler just released another whiny piece about how only “legitimate journalists” should be allowed access to Malacañan.

It’s a fairly long, rather masturbatory article liberally coated with self-serving statements and commentary from people who essentially share their opinions.

But beyond the rhetoric, what Rappler is essentially gripping about is Sec. Martin Andanar’s liberal interpretation of who should be allowed access to the President. According to the article, if Ressa and the rest of Rappler had their way, coverage of the President would be limited to a few people, preferably those who, like them, practice both the “profession and a trade” of journalism. In other words, those that make money off it.

And people do make money from these types of news coverage. Primetime advertising buys on TV Patrol for example are some of the most expensive air times on television, underscoring the fact that news is big business.

So in this regard, coverage of Malacañan activities can be considered – for all intents and purposes – a commercial product. Something that can be cornered and monopolized by certain organizations. Like the Malacañan Press Corp for example. By limiting those who have access to these activities and events, they also get to control who makes money of it.

The entry of non-traditional coverage from social media personalities, bloggers, and ordinary citizen journalists – many of whom offer content for free – is being seen as a disruptive force for their business model. It is something that can seriously affect their bottomline. And for a company like Rappler, who appears to be struggling financially, this new development can mean the end if its existence.

And while the Rappler reporter goes on about accountability and some such bullshit, the reality is that they view social media as a competitive threat. Whether they admit to it or not, it’s all about the money, money, money. Proof of this is the fact that prior to the surge of support for bloggers like Thinking Pinoy, Sass Sasot, etc, Rappler was itself was quite content to ride the wave of social media. It was only when they were losing  that they started throwing all these tantrums.

Which is also why Ressa and her minions continue (and will continue) to fight tooth and nail against the trend of citizen journalism. They cannot afford to hold anything back at this juncture. Not and expect their heavily leveraged world to survive.

This is the end game for them. Unlike other media companies that have resources beyond the digital realm, Rappler has nothing beyond its webpage and highly paid executives.


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