A Wasteland Filled With Possibilities

Media as we know it has expanded enormously over the last years.  According to an article called “ A Vaster Wasteland” written by Newton N. Minow, we can see the advances in our technology tremendously change over the past fifty years.  And I do believe he is correct, we have advanced in the internet/computers, television, and radio.  The main source of information so many years ago was indeed the radio and television.  Constantly being told of national and world events that could possibly affect our lives.  This was informative, but I personally think that it left the people being in constant fear.  There was really no variety to mass media.  And having the choice would be key into making the media what it is today.  This in tern would create material that would reflect public interest or what the people needed.

As stated in the article, having a variety can be beneficial to society in so many different ways. Minow spoke of children’s programing.  Dating back fifty years ago, and as the years slowly progressed, children were constantly exposed to whatever happened to be on television at the time.  Simply, because there was nothing else to watch; there was content that showed violence and some “sexual exploitation.”  With airways that have more variety, new stations were created to attract specific audiences.  For kids, they then had children oriented shows like the famous Sesame Street, to keep them away from inappropriate content.  Due to this revolution of variety and choice, we see that Internet, television, and radio have run full steamed with these ideas: that more is better, and the people would respond to it; which they are.

Now that the airways are no longer a “vast wasteland” Minow thought that in the next fifty years they should come up with six goals to achieve and thereby better this growing use of mass media.  Most of which I agreed with, such as expand freedom to strengthen the news and I especially liked how he wanted to use the new technology and “improve and extend the benefits of education.”  I thought that was brilliant, there are so many schools, especially, public schools that could benefit from this.  I only had concern with his sixth and final goal; which was to make over the air airwaves more useful for politics.  It didn’t sound to bad at first, but he wanted to make it, so that politicians can advertise and speak over the air for free.  I understand that the airways are free for the general public, but I do think when it comes to politics payment makes everything fair.  If not, every politician would take advantage of the free service.  We would constantly see adds, commercials, and speeches on public television for politicians.  To me this is a breading ground to make propaganda acceptable.

But overall, I found this particular article to be interesting.  Even more so because it was from the perspective of an elderly man that has seen technology grow and evolve into what it is today.  It was his vision to see the public have choice and variety of what they watched or heard.  And even though he had accomplished so much, still had aspirations to achieve more, and maintain this former “vast wasteland.”

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