*Before, I get into anything I just want to congratulate the New England Patriots on their win in the Super Bowl*
The Super Bowl is known for their funny and over the top commercials that go viral during and after the event. This year my favorite commercial was the Pepsi ad with Cardi B, Steve Carell and Lil John.
However, the commercial that caught my attention last night was The Washington Post message. I’ve personally never seen a legacy newspaper commercial on TV before. Their message was about keeping the public informed through journalism, using its motto: “Democracy dies in Darkness.”
My immediate thoughts before seeing that it was created by The Washington Post were that this commercial is really trying to gain the trust of the people back. They go through all the tragic events like war and 911 reminding the people that it was the media and journalist working to keep them informed.
Then, when I saw it was The Post, it showed they were taking a stand against the slander over all publications by the current president and his supporters.
Papers and online publications alike are experiencing extreme downsizing. BuzzFeed that has been in the news a lot lately for their breaking news, recently laid off a its whole national desk, national security team, along with entertainment, health and LGBTQ reporters. Many people believed that this was because they were trying to prove their credibility for a more serious direction. While that might be part of the reason, the problems facing journalism didn’t just start.
“People want to blame the internet for the news industry’s troubles, but the seeds go back to the 1980s.”— JEREMY LITTAU
According to Slate, there are three key forces that created the slow-motion disaster of the journalism industry. The first: bad business decisions; the second: investors expectation of hefty profits; and third: how the industry reacted to the first two factors.
When talking about the second factor they describe how in the pre-internet era, newspapers functioned as “pseudo-monopolies” that created an “audience for advertisers that wanted to reach those people.”
In the article it said, “news companies severely misjudged what the internet was.” That proof is in the pudding because this is 100 percent true. Newspapers and consumers even, thought the internet wasn’t going to be long lasting. Papers didn’t see it as a threat until it was too late, and when they realized that on the internet there were virtually no limits, most didn’t know how to adapt. All of a sudden, newspapers were competing with everyone and since they weren’t using the internet to their advantage, they began to lose the one thing that kept them in business, ad sales.
The take over didn’t happen overnight, but over the years so many types of information outlets that used ad sales popped up (Craigslist & YouTube) and before these news companies knew it, they were fighting over scraps to save their jobs. According to Slate, between 2000 and 2008, newspaper ad revenue fell more than 60 percent.
All of this puts into perspective the other factors that contribute to the decline of the journalism industry. I think The Washington Post is taking a step in the right direction with their ad in the Super Bowl, but there’s a lot that still needs fixing behind the scenes to stop this slow decline.