Decreased quality in journalism may lead to more serious consequences.

In today’s fast paced, demanding society, most businesses have had to consolidate and speed up their work-flow. The media is no exception to this rule; in fact, in some ways it is one of the most affected businesses. Increased speed and shorter deadlines has led to less scrutiny over material that is yet to be published, as well as less effort put into each piece of work. This leads to the obvious result: a general decrease in quality in all forms of written material. However, there are many other possible side effects that may lie in the future, which is a troublesome thought.

Libel is a very serious offense, and there have been extreme examples of heavy penalties for relatively small offenses. As an industry built on written word, often about specific individuals or organizations, the media is the entity most at risk for libel suits. This is one of the biggest concerns related to decreased work and scrutiny over written materials. Less people checking for errors means an increased chance for a small mistake to get printed and distributed to the masses. Even a type-o, such as the wrong age, could be twisted and lead to a libel suit. If the offense was serious enough, the outcome of the case could seriously drain the media company of all it’s funds, causing loss of employees or even bankruptcy.

Clearly, the drawbacks to decreased effort put into distributed literature could lead to extreme problems. This possibility should not be overlooked or underestimated, and media outlets should consider whether employee cutbacks and increased work rates are worth the danger of libel suits. It only takes one major offense to devastate a company, as well as the individual or organization that is victimized.

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