Information and authenticity: financial information and the media in the age of replication

Garry Whannel (University of Bedfordshire, UK)

It is the hypothesis of this paper that in the new media environment there is an extraordinary over-supply of information combined with a crisis of authentication. This paper will explore this issue by making some self-reflexive observations about research the author is currently conducting into the ways in which the media report financial issues associated with the Olympic Games. Searching for financial information poses a number of problems. First the huge volume of available information tends to mask the paucity of useful information. Second, the ubiquity of digital replication tends to mask the source of information. Third, the range of web-based sources poses problems of credibility associated with sources. Fourth the limited frames of reference of the mainstream news agenda tends to marginalise some forms of information. Fifth, the work of the new public relations professionals – spin doctors, media managers and image consultants – is largely about protecting their clients from your enquiries. A great deal of information is available but not circulated. It can be found, but only if you know where to look – and searching involves an expensive resource, time, which mitigates against investigative journalism.

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