The Self-Destructive Decline of Mass Journalism

In the article “The Reconstruction of American Journalism” writers Leonard Downie Jr. and Michael Schudson explore the economical decline of news media. Even in 2009 when this article was written things were bad. Today it’s not surprising to see campaigns from traditionalist consumers fighting to keep their paper publications alive. It’s become common knowledge that if new media wants to stay alive it needs to do something drastic.

The formula that keeps broadcast news alive is the formula that is also driving viewers away, keeping it in a fine gamble between attraction and abrasion. It’s founded on the fundamentals of sensationalism feeding audiences the melodrama of a soap opera and the gossip junk from a locker room session. Educated consumers are put off with the junk getting in the way of their news while other consumers need the drama to keep them engaged. Broadcast news has come a long way from textbook ethics but it may be the key to keeping the investors on board.

Print news media, on the other had, is a bit more tragic. While the sensationalist formula can  be better coated under the novelty of print, it can’t keep up with the destroyer of all media; the internet. The internet offers the same information, less mess, more mobility and most importantly it’s free. While it’s true that some publications still charge for their online content the cold hard truth is that everything is a light google search away from being accessible for free.

So how does news media stay alive? Do we really want to pay for bad news? But then again would I consider sitting through a package on how wonderful the world is? The best we could hope is that news stays ethical and then it would stay necessary. It should go back to it’s roots and find other means of gaining revenue. Our media is too democratize it’s a consumer’s market when it comes to news media. And that’s the cold hard truth.

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