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“And that’s the way it is…”

➔ Ironically, one subject that has been in the news over the past several years is the news itself. Amid allegations of fake news, mis-information, dis-information and outright lying, the very structure of the news business has been shaken to its core.

Much like many other facets of modern society, a major culprit in this tumultuous transformation of the news business is technology. More specifically, the internet has catapulted everyday Joes and Janes into news producers from their basements and worse.

A major effect of this inside-out revolution has been the demise of the newspapers. Starting in the pre-internet days of the 1980s daily newspapers have little by little been tossed onto the trash heap of history. Major cities that once sported two and three dailies (and more) have been reduced to one daily newspaper and many of those are mere shadows of their former selves. According to The Washington Post, “from 2005 to 2021, about 2,200 American local print newspapers closed. From 2008 to 2020, the number of American newspaper journalists fell by more than half.”

While the struggles of newspapers have become common place, broadcast news outlets have suffered as well. Once seen as the wave of the future, the 24-hour news channels are starving for content and are faced with a burgeoning competition from the most unlikely places. Now, anyone with a smartphone who happens to be in the right place at the right time can become a purveyor of news.

What does the future hold for news and news organizations? Will newspapers disappear forever, or will they re-invent themselves? Will there be major merges of local print and broadcast news outlets? Will small town and local newspapers survive as sole sources of local news? Will big-city newspapers disappear entirely? Who can say?

As with most everything else, no one knows for certain. Today’s news media is fragmented, and more and more beholden or driven by ideologues and activists. Recent polls show that young Americans (under 35) get most of their news from social media, eschewing the more traditional outlets.

One thing that’s for certain is that the public’s trust in the news media is at an all time low. A Gallup poll from a year ago notes that only one in three Americans trust in the mass media to report the news fully and fairly – only two points above the all-time low. That’s not good and that’s something that desperately needs to change for the better.

And tomorrow? What other technological breakthroughs will upend the news business even more in the future? Something needs to happen and happen soon. 433

“Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your honor. That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoemaking and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse.”

– Samuel L. Clemens, aka Mark Twain

an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher and lecturer


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