The Future of News

The current issue of The Economist contains a must read special report on the future of the news industry. While there is little in the way of groundbreaking news developments in the report, The Economist’s series of articles provides a condensed overview of the current and future states of the news media; an article of interest to everyone here at BigGovernment.com.

“Bulletins from the Future” celebrates the emergence of “‘crowdsourced’ journalism,” which has “turned the news industry upside down, making it more participatory, social, diverse and partisan.” In “How Newspapers are Faring: A Little Local Difficulty,” the writers point out that the decline of print media is mostly an American and Western European phenomenon and in “Reinventing the Newspaper” they examine the new business models that “are proliferating as news organizations search for novel sources of revenue.”

“The People Formerly Known as the Audience” looks at the rise of social media and the impact they have on the news business. “The Foxification of News” partly bemoans and partly celebrates the ideological compartmentalization of the news business.”

A few thoughts. The series makes several references to Arianna Huffington but none of the proprietor and editor of this site. This is unfortunate not because she’s a liberal and Andrew Breitbart and Mike Flynn are conservative/libertarians. Rather, failing to explore what Andrew and his team have accomplished in terms of breaking real stories represents a missed opportunity. Taking nothing away from Ms. Huffington’s tremendous accomplishment, her website is really a highly SEO-ed liberal celebrity site with some reporting, most of it horribly biased, some of it good. Andrew and Mike have moved the needle on key stories and have forced “real reporters” to follow their lead.

Conservatives and libertarians will be annoyed by the wistful tone with which The Economist writers’ reflect on journalism’s past “impartiality.” We on the right know full well that Fox News, Rush, Drudge, a slew of conservative talk radio shows and websites like this one have brought balance to a journalistic culture that was so partisan and left-wing it barely needed mentioning.

The final piece in the series titled, “Coming Full Circle,” makes the interesting point that top-down elite media is actually a century-long anomaly and that social sharing of news been the historical norm. Going back centuries, news was spread by word of mouth, just as is increasingly the case today with the assistance of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Google+, etc.

Anyway, check it out.

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