S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

News in the future?

For many of us there is no one source of news. We learn what is happening from TV, the papers , magazines and from the Web. My Bloglines news aggregator brings me updated versions of many RSS news feeds, including popular blogs and the New York Times. But, if I want to read the columns of MoDo or any of my other favorite NYT columnists, I must subscribe to the Times Select service for $49.95 a year. So I read Maureen Dowd in my local newspaper, or watch her on television talk shows.
Many younger readers get their total news online rather than from a regular newspaper or TV. Adam Penenberg, writing for Wired News states that,

Don't think for a minute that young people don't read. On the contrary, they do, many of them voraciously. But having grown up under the credo that information should be free, they see no reason to pay for news. Instead they access The Washington Post website or surf Google News, where they select from literally thousands of information sources. They receive RSS feeds on their PDAs or visit bloggers whose views mesh with their own. In short, they customize their news-gathering experience in a way a single paper publication could never do. And their hands never get dirty from newsprint.

Craig Newmark, is developing a new venture that will capitalize on the popularity of the Internet. According to David Osborne, writing for the Common Dreams newsletter,

While he has yet to discuss the specifics of his next venture, he has hinted at an interactive website on which users could decide which parts of the news really matter to them and even report some of it themselves.
"Things need to change," he said. "The big issue in the US is that newspapers are afraid to talk truth to power. The White House press corps don't speak the truth to power - they are frightened to lose access they don't have anyway."
There is widespread mistrust of the mainstream press and journalists, this Harvard study reports. Carroll Doherty, of Pew Research, says (in Summer 2005-Neiman Reports) that, "The press isn't buying press credibility. The seeds of public distrust were sown long before the recent round of scandals."

There are a number of pressures coming to bear on those from whom we get our news:

  • There is the problem of keeping an audience, because the public has less and less confidence in the mainstream media.
  • The average TV watcher is 60 years old.
  • There is widespread consolidation of the mainstream media into fewer and bigger media companies.
  • It has been reported that newspapers make only 10% of their income from their online editions.

Thus there is trouble on the horizon for the press. They will be forced to find ways to "monetize" the Internet, or they will provide less news coverage through that venue. What will they do to make money in the future, as regular newspaper readership goes down? That is the next big question.


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