Time, Time magazine that is, published an opinion piece I found heartening and just a little sad this week. Sad, because I grew up with the newspaper, heartening because I still am furious over the way Walter Cronkite and his cronies sucked us into believing America was rotten to the core in the Vietnam era. Everytime I hear that the three major networks lose viewers, I cheer.
Let me tell you why I happened to look at Time just now. We don’t subscribe to Time. Several years ago one of our sons signed up for an LSAT preparation course and somehow they gave him a subscription to Time—I’m thinking now it must have been a lifetime subscription because it’s still coming and we haven’t paid a cent for it. Makes me wonder how many real (paying) subscribers Time really has.
This may be the first article I’ve paid any attention to in all these years and it’s about the end of media as we know it.
Here is what James Poniewozik (whoever he is) had to say about the END! Following his litany of bad news about the media:
It’s enough to make journalists wonder, Is this the end?
Yes, probably. And a beginning. Because there was good news for the media in 2008 too, and it had a lot in common with the bad news. For while the media business (the exchange of information for money) was lousy, the media (the conduits of information) were multiplying.
Of course, part of what he is lamenting is that fewer people are able to make a living at news gathering and to that I say, so what! Many of you so-called reporters have let us down and I won’t be shedding any tears.
With the price of information dropping like a bank stock, no one knows how to make money off the media anymore. Or enough money, anyway: most of the companies firing reporters are profitable.
Then there is this:
Like the car companies, individual media outlets will probably have to learn to be smaller. And they’ll need to see their new-media “problems” as part of the solution. Internet users don’t hate the media. In fact, when given the tools by something like Twitter or YouTube, they want to be the media. People want the vetted information the news media offer–and they want to riff on it, respond to it and even, as in Mumbai, add to it. Journalists should embrace that rather than futilely fight it.
Trying really hard isn’t he to find the silver lining. And, even in their death throes these “journalists” are still patronizing.
This means offering users more ways of interacting, commenting and contributing. It means seeing new media not as the dumbing down of civilization but as a new way of telling stories and even finding stories. And it means recognizing that the audience is no longer passive–it wants and expects to participate, even as it wants help in making sense of the info deluge.
So, Mr. Ponie…., you and your fellow journalists were thinking the new media was dumbing down civilization. We are not dumb, and we aren’t the passive sheep that Walter Cronkite led to slaughter. Thank goodness for new journalists—bloggers—who are getting to the real stories. Readers can now gather information from myriad sources and sort out the truth without you college-educated professional journalists helping us make sense of it!
Some additional random thoughts:
* I told you awhile back that after subscribing for at least 30 years to the Washington Post I cancelled my subscription right after the election. I informed the Post that the final straw was their treatment of Sarah Palin. But, here we are in January and it was still being delivered, so today I called again, they assured me it would really stop this time and that I wasn’t obligated to pay for those many weeks of a free subscription. I sure hope they were paying the poor carrier though!
* Rush Limbaugh said today on his radio program that “drive-by media” journalists write for each other basically to show off to each other, they really aren’t thinking about us.
* Over the last few days I wanted more news on the war in Gaza and where did I find it? On blogs. I especially recommend Atlas Shrugs who has really been on top of the story.
* Another story I wanted to hear more about is one that the Washington Post only covered in a sneering op-ed—- the Obama birth certificate case. I still do not understand why that story cannot be treated as a straight news story describing both sides of the issue. Well, today, I was out grocery shopping and there it was, front page coverage, on the Globe. Yes, a supermarket tabloid, you know the kind of publication we make fun of with story titles such as “My child was fathered by an Alien.” Please forgive me Globe for poking fun, I’ll never do it again.
Come to think of it, wasn’t it the National Enquirer that exposed the truth about John Edwards and his love child?
I’ve never bought a supermarket tabloid, but you know what, I’m going back tomorrow and buy the Globe. So, Mr. Poniewozik, here is a positive thought, maybe there will be work for unemployed Time reporters at the Globe.
P.S. I love blogging, I get a tingling feeling down my leg when I think how I’m getting even with Walter Cronkite for lying to me.