The Buggles crooned back in 1979 that “Video Killed the Radio Star”. The song celebrates the golden age of radio and decries its swift fall from power thanks to television.
Unlike the technology enhancements that relegated radio to the “back of the bus”, I am afraid that it is avarice that has caused newspaper and television news media to fail miserably in beginning in 2008 and continuing today. Back in the 40’s the newspapers were controlled by families both austere and philanthropic that genuinely cared about reporting truthful news to their readers. Television harnessed the power of the pixel to deliver images to its viewers from far off lands where no human has never been.
These media outlets are now owned by corporations that are an amalgamation of companies with boards of directors influencing not only the financial matters of the newspaper or news program, but the programming itself. We have seen a progressive shift in reporting from “if it bleeds it leads” to “if it is sensational, who cares if it is at all true”. This abomination of values has created a top-down acknowledgment and encouragement of partisan news reporting and lack of self censorship.
In its frustration, the news consuming public has cried out for an alternative source of information and technology has provided a forum from which to communicate it. New Media takes the camera out of the hand of the reporter and puts it in the hand of the citizen. Those same eyes that sat and awaited each evening for fresh video of the war in Vietnam now click over to YouTube and watch Iranian protesters fight for freedom in video captured only seconds earlier.
Information can be sourced from any corner of the world with a few clicks of the mouse. From video to audio, to blog comments and photos ranging from satellite imagery to user generated content (UGC). Citizens of the connected world now have the ability to source information when they want, from who they want.. And thanks to the lack of veracity from major media (NBC, CNN, FOX, Washington Post, etc.) individuals have chosen to trust the unadulterated words and images cast out from strangers.
It is the avarice and greed of the world that killed the news media star. When bottom lines are lagging, running some less-than-factual story is as good as ignoring a story that refutes beliefs of your board of directors. News media outlets will continue to progressively “get worse” as they become all consumed with pushing agenda over truthfully reporting the news.
So what can you do? Tune them out. Shut them off. Consider their sponsors irrelevant and do not patronize their advertisers. Demonstrate your loyalty to truth through you actions and continue to share the news around you using every method you have. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…. You have a voice, now use it.