Saturday, August 22, 2009

Italian news written for a cultural elite

Not much has changed in the 50 years since the political journalist Enzo Forcella declared that the Italian newspaper was written for just 1,500 readers: ministers, parliamentarians, party leaders, union bosses and industrialists. News is reported, he wrote, in an "atmosphere of family discussion, with protagonists who have known each other since childhood, exchanging jokes, speaking a language of allusions."

Italian media takes a bashing in Time magazine this week as the country is portrayed as one where the news is not important to the average person in the street.

The reasons though seem to be as much about the content as the population themselves and according to Paolo Mancini, a professor of the sociology of communications at the University of Perugia

Italy's press has always been written by and for the intellectual élite

The culture pages of the major dailies have the air of an academic journal. Graphics and layout are dense and often confusing. Photos are usually portraits of the same tired faces. When political news breaks, the front pages can feature as many as five articles on the subject by leading journalists providing individual takes. Yet context or background is rarely provided. The reader of the printed press already knows what's going on, They have the news. What they want is gossip.

Ht-Adrian Monck

No comments: