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.”