During the last decade, the newspaper industry has experienced a massive disruption. More than one-quarter of all newspapers have changed ownership. Most are small weekly papers. This has left many communities with little or no local news. This, in turn, threatens the long-term health and vitality of these communities.
This has led to an explosion of special-interest groups. These groups have expanded the number of conflicts. This has also lowered the level of public confidence in government and the press. The media has failed to tell the truth about complex issues, focusing instead on conflicts and crises. And, as a result, Americans resent being misled. This has also lead to a decline in print advertising revenue.
In addition to the financial strain, the newspaper industry has encountered a number of other challenges. For example, in 2004, the number of newspaper journalists was about half the level it was a decade ago. In addition, the number of independent owners has decreased significantly. This has placed the future of individual papers in the hands of owners without a stake in the outcome. The results have been dramatic. As a result, one-fifth of all newspapers closed during the decade. In fact, a recent University of Michigan survey found that public confidence in the media has plummeted.
In the early twentieth century, Joseph Pulitzer revolutionized the way we think about news. He transformed news articles into stories with plots and colorful details. This was done in the hopes of attracting readers’ attention. He also made events seem more immediate and dramatic.
He was especially successful at turning government actions into stories that had a sharp dramatic focus. For example, he created a story about a government-supported operation to provide aid in Somalia, which few Americans knew about. Using this gimmick, he was able to generate intense public interest.
Another example is a news story about the rise of HIV infections in heterosexual women. This was the first news article about the problem. It was also the most important. But what was the actual impact of the story on society? Is the news media making the right choice?
As Reuven Frank, former president of NBC News, points out, it’s hard to know if the press did the media trump. A study from the Media Research Center showed that most evening newscasts contained very few stories on the subject. In addition, most of these stories were couched in institutional formats.
The same can be said for news stories about the stock market. It’s a fertile ground for planted stories, and rumors are spread by short sellers. Whether or not the story is true, rumors often drive the stock price down. It’s no secret that the press has been corrupted. As a result, it’s impossible to tell if the news article is a true report, or simply a manipulation.
As the news media has lost its way, the public has lost its faith in government. According to a Gallup survey, the average American is less confident in the press than they are in Congress.