The increasing reliance on digital communications and the recent economic environment have to drastically affected the news media industry and the discussion by our panelists from yesterday (6/27/2012) clearly reflected that.
Digital communications have created the need to provide the news in multiple delivery formats. The audiences have changed as well, and the news industry is adapting to their changing consumption patterns. There are less political reporters in Olympia as declining advertising dollars and tight budgets prevents news organizations from maintaining full-time reporters there. The panelists clearly outlined the challenges they face as a result of these changes.
Austin Jenkins agreed that there are many challenges the industry faces. He felt that while there might be many new aspects to news delivery in the future forcing media outlets to adapt, the quality of news reporting was actually getting better as result, saying it is now more focused and less redundant.
Joel Connelly and Pat Callaghan then presented us with very different views of the current status of news reporting.
Connelly feels the contraction of the news industry had been detrimental to news reporting. There are fewer reporters covering the government in Olympia, and fewer people in general covering the news. With less coverage, the public has less access to information, and reporters are forced cover a wider variety of stories preventing them from covering any one story very deeply.
Pat Callaghan rejects the “death of the newspaper” tome, saying that while there may be less printed news, the News Tribune has more readers today than it ever had, albeit many reading online. He agreed with Austin Jenkins in that the quality of reporting is better, and there are less redundant stories.
The differing views of the panelist seems to give us a logical topic for discussion.
Do you feel that the “death of the newspaper” also reflects a decline in the news industry in general? How do you obtain your news? Is this different from the way your parents obtained their news? Do we face an increase in the problem of self-censorship, with a seemingly enlightened public who in reality obtains news from a wide a variety sources, yet ones with very narrow viewpoints? Are you worried that we receive less actual news and this hinders us in making informed decisions, or do we simply need to be more savvy consumers of the news?
I look forward to reading your comments.