As the proliferation of digital media as a source of information has swelled in the last couple of years, more and more people are turning away from traditional news media and powering up their computers to get the latest scoop. A recent poll conducted by Sacred Heart University suggests that average Americans don’t care much for newspapers and traditional news outlets to get their unbiased fix of reporting.
Newspapers and traditional news organizations have done a poor job protecting their reputations by creating an environment where profits override content. But hey, everybody needs to make a living, right? News agencies are giving their audience what they want by delivering info-tainment, rather than what they need; unbiased reporting of events that effect us all.
Over the years, traditional news has become more of a business and less of a public service which has lead to a proliferation of news outlets that cater to sensational headlines and buzz, which in turn is good for the bottom line. Greed may be good for business, but it is not necessarily good for news. So what to do?
Recently, Senator Ben Cardin suggested a bill that would give newspapers non-profit status so they can deliver news without the worry of raking in a profit. But does changing into a non-profit going to encourage readers? Will that change the quality of the content? Believe it or not, quality content can be had on the internet by individuals who are doing the reporting more for the love of the craft than the need to profit. And readers are taking notice. As audiences flock to these writers, they will become more attractive destinations for news. In a recent interview of Tom Fenton, former senior correspondent for CBS news and author of “Bad News: The Decline of Reporting, the Business of News, and the Danger To Us All” believes that the answer to low-quality news content will depend on whether or not there is public outcry for better news. But I think it will be less of an outcry from the public, and more a slow turning away to better alternatives. For more on Tom Fenton’s take on the state of traditional news, click on the video below.