It's become a thing to "blame the media." As a member of the press, I sometimes take offense to this statement.
Newspapers are dying. Instead, people want to get their news online, which is fine. People will always want the news, but the outlet is changing.
In today's society, most readers are not seeking out hard-hitting journalism. Two-sentence Twitter feeds or Facebook posts dominate people's mobile devices.
No one clicks on the story about a local government meeting that affects citizens directly, but they will click on a story where Donald Trump calls a Miss Universe contestant fat. They will click on a story about Kim Kardashian being held at gunpoint and having millions of dollars in jewelry stolen. They will click on a story about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie getting divorced.
No one clicks on the story about a local government meeting that affects citizens directly, but ... they will click on a story about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie getting divorced.
Trust me, there are many good stories out there. Unfortunately, no one wants to read them. So as reporters, we are being asked to put our efforts towards what people want to read. The media often does provide correct information and stories, such as laws being passed that are slowly taking away many of our rights and going unnoticed, but those stories get buried under what Beyonce wore at the Super Bowl.
Reporters are asked to get the news out as fast as possible to beat the competition, to get it online. There used to be deadlines. You had at least a day to get your sources and story straight. Fact-checking seems to be a thing of the past in this technology-driven society. You hardly ever see three sources in a story these days -- and that used to be the standard norm.
Good sources are becoming scarce. You can't even cover a football press conference to get a straight answer anymore. Instead, people look to Twitter and the internet for their information, not bothering to learn where the story originated.
Quite frankly, it scares me. Without the media serving as reporters for the public, then we have no one tracking accountability. Officials have no one at their public meetings. No one is present to record what they do in their quest to represent their constituents. The worst part? No one seems to care.
Without the media serving as reporters for the public, then we have no one tracking accountability. ... The worst part? No one seems to care.
I went into this business because my grandmother once said that the "media was the root of all evil." I vowed to prove her wrong, but it seems today the press is more vilified than ever.
Our news stories are driven by the reader. Readers buy the papers and readers drive traffic to websites. Where do advertisers put their money? In newspapers that still have large circulations and busy, well-visited websites. The money made through advertisements is what pays the salaries for editors and reporters. If we want to keep our jobs as editors and reporters, we need to please the reader.
So when people "blame the media," they need to ask themselves: What stories did I read today? What articles did I click on? Because in the end, it is the reader that drives the new stories that are put out for consumption, and the media is just giving the public what they want.
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