By Spencer Mann, Trending Writer
It is extremely customary to hear American nostalgia for the media return to the way it used to be. The days of well-groomed newscasters reporting the prevalent summary of national news events brings many Americans back to so-called simpler times. Many even go as far as resenting the tumultuous decline of the newspaper industry, citing that takes professional information seekers out of business. The idea follows that if there is less investigation, then fewer stories will see the light. However, the consequences of having few elite news corporations retaining control the words spoken on each family’s television can only be noticed in today’s world. We live in a world where there is more particular nuance on every news story than ever before. This care for the truth is not coming from the large networks. Only on the internet, from people sharing information and facts for free, do we see this focus on the truth. This is an era where the cabinet selection for Secretary of Education had more intricate fact checking done to her name than presidential candidates have ever had in the days of television news.
The role of the media in any democratic society can never be downplayed. It is through investigative journalism that independent sources can keep a government in check and provide accountability for its actions. Then, it concerns many to see the fall in paid journalists, as most publications have simply gone out of style. However, with the decline of paid journalism, we saw a spike in truly independent sources that can break top news stories. These sources do not have an anchor waiting in front of camera one to give an emotionally charged warning to tune back in at eleven. More importantly, though, is that information spreads even easier on the internet. To top it off, these pro bono reporters do not receive a paycheck every month with the name of a massive news corporation on the back. That means that they owe their information to nobody; political ties and informational alliances do not exist in this world of reporting. The facts can be shared without censor.
While it is very easy to wish for simpler times where clicking one single-digit number on one’s television remote gave them all of the news for the night, the reported information was even more watered down than that, if reported at all. The access to information in earlier times just does not compare to the availability seen today. It should be a testament to our democratic world that we are able to witness the most fundamental capitalism take place with entities as important as our news.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, February 21st print edition.
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