Ruta Ulcinaite

Who’s Responsible for the Decline of Media?

Many newsroom employees are very quick to point their fingers at specific organizations and technologies for layoffs and declining local news overall. But who is really to blame? The rise of the internet? The rise of social media? 

Jeremy Littau wrote in his Slate article that the bad seed goes back to the 1980’s and a number of bad business decisions. Decades of quick and impulsive investments and large amounts of debt left media companies vulnerable and exposed at a time when investment was crucial. 

News organizations need to understand their trial and error of adapting to innovation and learn from these bad business mistakes back to when media thought the internet was a fad. There’s room for the media to recover its legacy and grow back into local communities, but maybe it’ll be in different forms.

In his article, Newsonomics: Rebuilding the news media will require doubling-down on its core values, Ken Doctor suggests a new social contract for journalist everywhere to rebuild media. This contract includes everything from identifying allies, showing, not telling, impact and projecting strength not weakness in both journalism and business. Without adapting and not identifying clear 21stcentury values, Doctor doesn’t believe the local news sector can be rebuilt.

Is he right?

I personally believe big changes create big impacts. Journalists have to be held accountable and have to step up to the plate and be resilient in their fight to adapt and relight the local newsroom fire.

Gannett media is the nations largest organization that spans over 109 newspapers across the country. Even Gannett is going through a time of uncertainty and instability. Gannett is attempting to connect more than 100 individually flailing news businesses into a single group that can stand on its own successfully.

The obvious fear is that even a giant company like Gannett can’t uphold the freefall of print news and its uncertainty, resulting in multiple layoffs and business changes.

Just last week multiple media organizations announced deep cuts to their newsgathering staff including Buzzfeed, HuffPost and Gannett. An innovative, young and fresh company like Buzzfeed going through major layoffs as well? Zoinks.

In the end it seems like the one thing that news media needs to grow and prosper is the strength of local news and the accountability of journalists to go back to square one and find innovative ways to produce meaningful journalism on different platforms.

Personally it’s tough out here for a college journalism student who is kind of having all her dreams crushed at the moment. Even though my focus is broadcast journalism, I still feel the effect of these cuts to journalists and what that means for me when I try to find a job in the spring.

The fight is going to be tough, but I believe in journalism and I believe it has a direct impact on our country’s democratic principles.

So we have to fight the good fight and do our best to uphold journalism and explore all innovative options.

4 thoughts on “Who’s Responsible for the Decline of Media?

  1. I agree that “big changes create big impacts. Journalists have to be held accountable and…” Local newsroom normally have a smaller area to look for news and less audiences than a big city. i think we really need to pay attention on what “big changes” could make the “big impacts”? Do we change our target audiences broader so that more people would care about us? Should we do more advertisement, more funding to support out newsroom? Also, what has been changed in our town? What potential revolution might happen? I think local journalists could change their way of thinking to make the situation better.

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  2. I like how you say that we need to explore innovative options. I do agree that often times there’s a negative connotation surrounding our chosen major or career path, but I think it’s our job to explain that there’s hope in the way everything is going to evolve. I have faith that we’ll always need local news, but I think it will have to change for the better. The only problem is that it will take time. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. I definitely agree with you. I think it would be really hard to pinpoint specifically the reason behind some of the major changes in the journalism industry. It’s morphing right now, which can be scary for all the people who want to get a foot in the door. But, I also think we need to take into consideration that as the industry changes we cannot all expect to be the writers and editors. New positions are being created constantly for social media journalism and video news producers; and even though these might not be the traditional media, they could as well be the next step of this industry.

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  4. I agree with what you said about the necessity for local newspapers and local tv news stations to make a resurgence. I personally, like yourself, want to go into broadcast as well and I think that nowadays, it is important to start thinking of other career routes to go into. As far as broadcasting, nightly news has taken a significant decrease in ratings and because of this, it has made me think that other options are now the way to go. But, I to believe in journalism and the need for it, but I think nowadays it is important for good honest journalism to take over.

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