Saturday, January 17, 2009

From Competitive and Insightful, To Incestuous and Unreliable

In 2009 what we all used to know and expect from our various sources of news and information sources, be it radio, television, or newspapers, has finally succumb to stage 4 budget cancer. Today in most major cities with 2 or more "competing" news gathering organizations, you are already, or about to start reading articles in your favorite trusted newspaper written verbatim by someone who gets a paycheck from a newspaper you don't subscribe to. When you flip on your local television news stations (if you even still do this) you aren't likely to recognize any longer if the station you have always watched for whatever reason, shot the video you see or whether the station you don't watch for whatever reason shot it. Should you care ? I'll get to that in a minute-

The disease infecting the news business, is budget cancer. In television the symptoms begin with an acute swelling of individual "too important to lose," anchor type contracts. The intended consumers of television and printed news and sports no longer have the time to sit and ingest the 3 legged chicken, and the car wreck stories to get to the one thing they are interested in so they are flocking to the Internet to read it, lose it, and log it off. You add inflated egos and salaries of the "elite media," types to the reduction in eyeballs, and you get advertisement dollars that don't meet the costs of what we all used to know as credible journalism. Now we have writers from one newspaper writing for competing papers and television networks shooting stories for each other all in an effort to slow down the stage 4 budget cancer by laying off people, reducing costs, and why should anyone really care who isn't in this business anyway ???

Well, one need only compare MSNBC and FOX as just one example of why it might matter. Don't think for one moment that reporters, anchors, photographers, and producers of the content you consume on a daily basis aren't affected and infected with personal bias, political slants, and limitations of all kinds. Is this how you want your information filtered ?

If you think you have trouble sorting out the unbiased truth these days, just wait till the budget cancer hits your town, your newspaper, and your local television station. Individual integrity and journalism, has now been diluted to the point where the consumer will no longer be able to recognize it.

R.I.P. journalism.

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