Six Major Differences Between Traditional Media and the New Information Age


Six Major Differences Between Traditional Media and the New Information Age

All news is good news, right? Well, maybe not. In today’s society it seems like we all need a daily dose of advertising to keep us on track. When a car salesman talks about his company’s latest promotion, or a radio DJ boasts of his network’s hottest show, no one is spared from the promotional winds.

This practice is nothing new. For centuries, reporters have been given the job of trying to disseminate information for a specific purpose. In the past, newspapers and magazines relied on their reporters to inform the public, by telling stories and bringing the news to them. Now, more often than not, news outlets are using radio shows and television coverage to do the talking for them. They want someone with enough skill to talk on the air, and someone who can interpret the spin off jokes for sponsors.

This new media strategy for news is both intentional and unfortunately, common. Many outlets are simply cutting back on their news coverage in an effort to save money. While this may be a wise business move, because the public demands more information, some newspapers are having difficulty surviving the onslaught.

The problem is that newspapers and magazines are now suffering a severe loss of readership, as a result of this trend. It used to be that newspapers and magazines would survive solely on their hard copy distribution, and strong editorial support. However, there is a new trend taking hold at publications across the country. Increasingly, news outlets are cashing in on the trend of “good news” and turning to opinionated radio shows and guest columnists to fill in the news gaps left behind by the disappearance of traditional newspaper reporters. While many people look to these new outlets for objective news, some see it as a betrayal of the objectivity that makes newspapers so successful.

A clear example of the first wave of this new style of news stories is Fox News. During the recent unrest in Baltimore, Fox News reporter John Roberts was quick to note, “The city’s budget was not increasing, even as taxes were being raised to increase funding.” Although he claimed that the coverage of the story was designed to increase objectivity, other outlets, most notably CNN, where a liberal reporter was on the story, failed to note that the lack of increase in taxes meant that there was no increase in the city budget. In fact, it looked as if the city was deeply in debt and that the news report was actually a hit to the revenue stream.

Clearly, there are significant difficulties ahead for newspapers and magazines. With print circulation is declining and Internet access growing ever more open, there is little to stop them from going the same route as the television news networks have already taken. However, with increased objectivity, perhaps the real battle can be fought online and it is clear that with this new information delivery model, the trend will continue moving forward.