Sunday, December 21, 2008

Where Are The Watchdogs?

Dean Pagani writes:

Sooner or later the audience begins to notice that even though you are calling it news — it’s not. The depth, context and analysis all suffer and your product ends up looking more like stenography than reporting. People stop listening, reading, watching.

For the past several decades, as media companies have tried to increase the profit they make from news, their most reliable tool has been downsizing. Under this business model, local papers like the New Britain Herald and the Bristol Press (both facing possible closure), have become not much more than advertising flyers with a few local news articles squeezed in between the ads as cover. If the people of Bristol and New Britain have less and less a clue what their local government is up to, that’s not a problem the papers’ ownership concerns itself with. The news product is only the veil the sales force hides behind.

Let’s not glorify the old days. The original media entrepreneurs were in it for the money too. But their bargain was news, information and entertainment in exchange for a subscription, and they kept their end of the deal.

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