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Media regulation in the online content age

What content marketers can learn from print media’s mistakes 

The Australian Press Council (APC) is a dinosaur – and a toothless one at that. Charged with regulating (or, more accurately, self-regulating) the content produced by the nation’s print media, it has long been criticised (most recently in the Finkelstein Report) for being under-resourced and slow.

And now one of the country’s largest media companies, Seven West Media, comprising the Seven Network, Pacific Magazines and West Australian Newspapers, has withdrawn from the APC and announced its intention to regulate itself.

And why shouldn’t it? After all, the APC is made up of – and funded by – publishing organisations like News Limited and Fairfax Media. So it is already a self-regulating body. Why should publishers, at a time of declining circulation and advertising revenue, spend significant sums of money to do what they can do themselves for nothing?

Furthermore, what function can a body like the APC serve in this age of social media and online content? These days, every tweet, every Facebook post, every blog is potentially newsworthy – in both a personal and mainstream sense. And every tweet, every Facebook post, every blog is self-regulated. Granted, some people do it better than others, but the fact that every individual is now a content creator shows what an archaic institution the APC now is.

And yet, for businesses that produce content or use content marketing, the need for regulation remains. A commonly repeated theme in The Message is for businesses to start thinking of themselves as publishers – which of course means you can’t go around saying simply anything or making outlandish claims.

But with commonsense, and the help of experts in the field, self-regulation of content can become second nature.

 

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