How Journalism Can Help Improve the News Industry
The news industry is faced with a very anxious future with the popular and uncontrollable upsurge of the worldwide web. Aside from the net fame, the industry is significantly challenged by major losses of occupations, advertising income, and corporate or management support, as well as the commitment and interest by the public. These occurrences put the new industry in a tight spot. They create a cause for panic because the rate of modifications has intensified. The direction being tracked down by print and broadcast journalism did not just speed-up but is likely to reach its turning point. The evident transition by the public to other news sources has greatly affected the over-all aspect of news industry, be it from print circulation, TV, or radio ratings. Consequently, this shift has increased the page viewership and online visitors for print and broadcast news companies who have branched out on the Internet. However, the trail is actually not near its end yet, the fight is not yet finished and it still has a long way to go. Changes need to be enacted to address the issues and better attest the ever dependability and effectiveness of the news industry as a source of information and instrument of shaping one’s opinion.
The Challenges and Current Conditions of the News Industry
The challenges facing the news industry are evidently manifested with print and broadcast advertisers rushing to the Internet. The print public deserts even the best newspapers and magazines while television and radio companies are quickly losing their viewers and listeners. Aside from the said decline in patronage, the news industry is also faced with economic hindrances such as advertising and sales income as well as quality problem when their targeted public is slowly failing in the requirement for firm quality information that heighten civic involvement. The disruption by the Internet aggravates the situation with the apparent closure of century-old newspaper and publishing companies, as well as television and radio networks.
The Project for Excellence in Journalism, through its State of the News Media 2007, corroborated the current condition of the news industry. This is evident with the partnership of newspapers with classified-job-listing web sites. Instead of being overshadowed by the problem, a lot of news organizations have opted to take the next step by increasing their outlets under the trend of franchising to cover a wide audience and build a bigger public worldwide. The said annual report also noted that print and broadcast news organizations are focusing less on the manner they get stories and cover the news and emphasizing more on the stories and their nature. The report also stressed that the limitation on focus tends to create dangerous results. This is because information that deals with a narrow subject caused about by the franchising trend tends to be prejudicial (The Project for Excellence in Journalism).
The annual report of the Project for Excellence in Journalism on the status and health condition of the American news media or journalism emphasizes the importance of the transformation and transition being experienced by the news industry. The report added that the impact goes outside the situation where the news public transfer to fresh delivery trend such as the Internet. Instead, it regarded the effect of modern technology to media in a positive way. This holds true when it delineates the function of the public by entrusting them with greater responsibility and authority over they absorb the pieces of information offered by the news. (The Project for Excellence in Journalism, Introduction Page).
In his book entitled News Culture, Stuart Allan explained that in today’s era, good journalism is one that is perceived to be what is called the popular culture. Allan cited the works and words of famous investigative reporter Carl Bernstein for print. He also mentioned the movie Network, which features a fictional television network which has been struggling with the poor ratings. First released in 1976, the film won numerous awards for its satirical depiction of the future of media where TV network employees are exploited to in order to improve ratings. The old saying “if it bleeds, it leads” became the basis of what Allan called as the “tabloidization” and “infotainment” of the news industry. According to Allan, the said examples are manifestations of the current condition of the news culture where popular and famous culture and events depicted what a good and effective journalism is. (Allan 192, 198, and 202).
Ways to Improve Journalism and the News Industry
Despite the above challenges facing the news industry, Allan suggested ways for journalism to change for the better. One is to emphasize what freedom of the press really means in today’s world. Freedom of the press should not be subjected to constraints imposed by the government and other entities. It should uphold the right to freely express ideas, opinion and pieces of information. It should not give way to commercialization to satisfy the profitability of the news industry. The production and distribution of broadcast and print news materials should exercise impartiality, must aim to deliver news at all cost, and must not dwell on how much the news organization can earn or lose (Allan 215).
Journalism and the news industry should fulfill its social responsibilities because this can ensure diversity of expression, idea, and opinion by the public. Open public debates or enhanced civic participation by all sectors would create an atmosphere of variation which can spread the power of information to others, instead of being concentrated only on those capitally or commercially able (Allan 216).
In order to attain the required strong and quality information that will encourage civic participation, Allan stated the need for the news industry and journalists to be objective, impartial, and just. There should be a clear distinction between what is factual news and what is just a piece of an entertainment material. An entertaining and popular news or story should not be taken as an effective and good journalism. This is because a popular culture, event or personality for that matter would not necessarily mean a good news material nor is tantamount to good journalism (Allan 216).
To sum it up, the said massive developments and technological transition are some underlying and enlightening thoughts that should stop those who try hard to put an end to mainstream media. The demand for news is strong. Unlike the era when only newsprint is the medium, the various morning, evening and news magazine shows of networks and cable news and the public broadcasting audiences, combined with the growth of digital media, are giving consumers with more news sources and information. Mainstream news organizations, who are discouraged by the decrease in their viewers, readers, and advertisers, still have the power and option to shift to the digital journalism world. The coming of radio, network television and cable did not destroy the news franchise. Thus, they should not let the Internet impair them. The entrenched media should change or consider online journalism.
Despite the decline in circulation, newspapers are still proven to be among the most profitable corporations worldwide. Notwithstanding the effects, online news industry could prove to be even more effective and beneficial. It may further encourage the active participation of the public. Though the economic situation of the news industry is serious, it is not the yet the end of the road. The industry should take advantage of the technological advancements available today.
Allan, Stuart. News Culture, Second Edition. Open University Press, 1999.
Project for Excellence in Journalism. “The State of the News Media 2007.” 28 February 2008 ;http://www.stateofthenewsmedia.org/2007/narrative_overview_intro.asp?cat=1;me
No related essays.