Quality of American Mass Media
Modern Media by Michael Crichton
Media have evolved to include different types of news like entertainment news while managing to maintain the integrity of verification. Media have embraced changing technology. While some companies have gone the way of the dinosaurs, many have managed to coexist with “new media” by creating online counterparts and digital applications. Michael Crichton stated in his speech that the public needs high quality information. He was right, but he was incorrect in his negative assessment of American media’s ability to provide high quality and reliable information.
It is, after all, the crux of a reporter’s job to deliver just such content. In the past decade, academic training of journalists and researchers has received focused attention. University programs have been overhauled to include training in new media, enforce the necessity of verification, and provide interview training. One could say that the very points Crichton listed as the downfall of the “old media” are what has preserved it.
Crichton also gave the end of the media’s information monopoly as a reason for the downfall of the “old media”. Fortunately for newspapers and television news, not everyone wants to get online and research their own news. And those that do, do not always know how. The problem with the consumer having direct access to news information is that the consumer is not objective and neither are all information sources. The internet has provided a platform for citizen journalists and bloggers who often have no formal training. Their information may be biased, littered with opinion, or not properly verified. Put that together with opinionated and impressionable consumers rises a problem.
Now, consumers can look for and find information to back up their own rooted opinion, ignoring facts that go against it. Other consumers will read one information bite and not pursue it further never really verifying whether what they have read is true. For old media industries, this means that the content they put out must be 100 percent verified and easily researchable. Gone are the days of anonymous sources.
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