An Appreciation: Michael Wolff’s insights into the modern media and it’s future direction

Over the past few weeks I have been finding myself reading more and more articles published in the Guardian by Michael Wolff.

He first gained my attention before the start of the Leveson inquiry as he is a biographer of Rupert Murdoch  and from the outset in a video on the Guardian’s site, he was able to grasp the full extent of the phone hacking scandal as is starting to become clear to many.

He has a very frank, no nonsense style where he draws on his experience working in the NY Times and Vanity Fair among others and is able to drop names but not in a smarmy way which can be off putting in others.

Of late he has been focusing on well known changes in the mainstream media, specifically the trouble hitting print newspapers and how they are trying (and largely failing) to turn around their business models. Further, he has been giving a great account of where ‘the money’ in the 2012 Presidential Election seems to be going and also the portrayal of politics in America and the mainstream media’s inability to change the paradigm through which it views the competition, a paradigm that could be accused of being some 30 years behind the curve, my words, not his.

Whilst others on blogs, message boards, new media and in the mainstream media have tried to talk about the changes happening to the media and political ‘organisations’, whether it is the gathering and dissemination of news in an environment where the traditional medium itself is in transition or that the new mediums are not established in the mind of the public or even that the concept of monetizing output has no one-size fits all model whether your organisation is established or not, often ‘expert’ opinions are couched in a language that is somewhat techy, nerdy and inaccessible to those who only have a cursory knowledge or interest in the subject matter.

Wolff’s pieces are not couched in terms or concepts foreign to most and I have found his explanations on the workings behind the veil of media and political organisations to be fascinating and easy to follow. I will try and tackle his Vanity Fair output over the coming days, but in the meantime I would recommend that you read his latest piece on the running of the New York Times, merely out of interest.


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