Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mass media reliance

Layout from The New York Times

Andrew Cluxton

The article, “How Wikileaks is changing the news power structure,” by Steve Myers, brings up a valid point of just how powerful the internet user has become. Having said that, I feel that while the internet does have the power of no censorship, the traditional news media still is the “top dog” when it comes to deciding what actually qualifies as newsworthiness and dictates what actually gets recognized. The article even admits that, “…Wikileaks needed these titans of old media.” There are a couple of reasons why this is the case. For one, credibility is often in the eye of the beholder on the internet. What I mean by that is that anyone at anytime can post an article about whatever or whomever they please. But that all changes once a blog or an independent story gets covered by say, The New York Times or USA Today. The brand name alone alone gains any article instant credibility, which proves the point that big time media still rules, and always will.

The second reason is that big news is seen as a snapshot in time. This is evident with the killing of Osama Bin Laden. The morning that his death was on every front page in America, newspapers reported selling out record numbers of newspapers, and even selling Monday editions again on Tuesday morning the demand was so high. People see inherent value in physically holding something in their hands, leaving the demand for newspapers as a constant. While the internet may have the edge in quickness of delivery, it simply doesn’t have the staying power that a newspaper can have ten years down the road. The internet is a great whistle-blowing tool, but without the presence of the mass media truth is left to the reader, and would ultimately lead to more misinformed people than there already are.

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