Global Leitmedien: does it make sense?

The editor of eJour sent me this question: “You are a global English speaking citizen. Now you have to choose just ONE general, all round online news service. Which one do you prefer?”

The concept that springs to mind is the German idea of Leitmedien: one or a few media/publishing entities dominating the public sphere in a given country. Where these media lead, the others follow — both the other media and the public. Is something like this conceivable at the global level?

The answer I wanted to give was BBC News, since they have a global reach through their radio and TV news, cover all continents with their own correspondents and generally guarantee high quality reporting. Looking at how I use news services, the New York Times would in fact be an equally good candidate. BBC News isn’t as good as it could be. They should especially be looking at how to integrate the World Service radio programme and the BBC World TV news in a more user-friendly way than today.

However, looking even more closely, my ONE general, all round online news service is none of these — it is my Bloglines account. That’s where I have composed the menu that I can scan and pick from every day, a virtually endless supply of high quality news and views. The idea of choosing just ONE medium in the traditional sense is fast becoming a distant proposition. In a few years I don’t think people will even understand the question.

But I’m not trying to be difficult here, so OK Helle: BBC News is the closest any one medium comes to be my Leitmedium of choice!

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