Who Tells Us What

When you have data and a nuanced, long-view, of an area, it’s easy to say profound things. It comes naturally. Look at this sentence from a very recent pew report on the state of the media.

In 2012, a continued erosion of news reporting resources converged with growing opportunities for those in politics, government agencies, companies and others to take their messages directly to the public.

The point is striking, but I never thought about it before. When reporting manpower goes down, but total content output needs to stay the same, then something must give. In this case, Pew seems to think that other entities step in to provide content in a more packaged or ready-to-press form. This shouldn’t be surprising. If you go to buzzfeed.com, you’ll see that some of their content is put together straight from advertisers. There model is not really reporting so my analogy is flawed, but there is definitely something convincing about the hypothesis that as reporting and analysis dry up, powerful groups such as the government and the market can dictate the terms of content promulgation even more.

Again, I don’t want to shortchange the rise of bloggers and specialists. I’ve learned a ton from individual people who just decided to drill down on a complex issue. It just doesn’t seem to me like the burgeoning independent journalism sphere yet makes that much difference. It seems like there are established message channels and that they are still up for use/hijack depending on how you see it.


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