The state of journalism

Journalism is in a state of change right now. Local publications nationwide are continuing to print their last paper and shut their doors as more and more users are driven to online-based websites—most of which are ran by nationally focused syndicates. At a national level it feels as if news sites and channels have started treat news more as entertainment than what the viewer or consumer should be taking in.

In an interview with Lowell Bergman on PBS’s News War, longtime newsman Ted Koppel said the current media conglomerates are “[giving] the public what it wants and not necessarily what it ought to” and this “may prove to be one of the greatest tragedies in American journalism.” Koppel is right in his opinion of the shifting of the news media, too much attention in paid to the outrageous and not what is actually affecting the public at large. Profits are put over the interests of the people and the morals of the industry are shifting towards one where that is the main focus.

The profit motives have shifted the industry to compete for clicks on their websites where viewers often want a variety of content. This had led to a shifting in what is considered news. A lot of the old time newsmen used to consider blogging and the sort as something that was below them and something that should not be paid attention to—a way of thinking that can be considered moral absolutism.

However, with the changing of how people consume the news and the rise of social media, major news corporations have adjusted the way they report and often include such content. Tweets are featured nearly every night during the primetime shows. Thanks to President Trump, tweets have never played more of a significant role in journalism. Policy decisions are, firings are announced, and possible classified information is aired out to the public in a forum that is nothing more than a massive, interactive group chat.

The shifting of the norms of journalism and its reluctant inclusivity of blogs and tweets and citizen-journalist material can be classified as cultural relativism, or a growing concern and shift in mindset of a culture that has caused widespread acceptance of a formerly taboo issue.

But, I am pessimistic of the mainstream news media’s focus and path of reporting the news because as former Daily Show Executive Producer David Javerbaum put it, “the mainstream media is even more depressing than the news they attempt to fail and report. It’s horrible news broadcast horribly.”

5 thoughts on “The state of journalism

  1. The agitating truth about this is “giving the people what they want” which is a definite sign of pandering to those that would much rather have a dose of inconvenience with their breakfast. I’d rather hear about the effects of global issues rather than a story that fits a comforting narrative.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What Albert said! And, at the same time, the Koppel’s quote about “[giving] the public what it wants and not necessarily what it ought to” takes us back to the inception of journalism in this country. The penny press and yellow journalism era (exemplified in the “Citizen Kane” film) obsessed with audience shares from the 1830s on. Sensationalism sells. In the moral realism/news fundamentalist (Koppel) view, that’s terrible. At the same time, those cheap, occasionally crass papers began democratizing information. The previous “partisan” press was expensive and geared to the educated elite. (The Economist comes to mind as a contemporary example.) Immigrants and others learned to read because they could access the popular press.
    (For transparency’s sake, this perspective is coming from the associate professor who earned a PhD writing about “South Park.”)
    Excellent post, Freddy. You’ve packed many good observations into this. So much “horrible news broadcast horribly,” and Vice News Tonight (my favorite TV news broadcast ever) aired its last HBO show last week. I have some hope as they’re putting old episodes on YouTube. Here’s the channel.


  3. Journalism has definitely changed since the olden days of news. Just like what was quoted by Ted Koppel as the media is about giving what the public wants and not necessarily what it needs as the news is becoming more about entertainment and less about actual facts that people might find boring. I agree that social media has changed the world of journalism big time as tweets have never been so popular especially with current politics these days.


  4. It is crazy how much journalism has changed over the years. The clickbait has become ridiculous. I also find it crazy how much of an affect social media has. What a wild world.


  5. I share your pessimistic outlook on the state of mainstream media. In a political climate that is so divided between left and right, the last thing we need is for our media outlets to do the same. Unfortunately they have, and I think the state of journalism is worse off for it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close