It's an interesting question: which institution has lower approval ratings, Congress or the media? Apparently, Thomas Jefferson's pillar of democracy hurt democracy itself in 2007, according to 36 percent of respondents. Think how many simply don't like us all that much.
Today, being online (in the technical and figurative sense) means being able to process small nuggets of information quickly and having even smaller, relatively unfiltered reactions in an even quicker response time. We are also forced to disperse our reactions, rather than hash them out in one big 750-word, 20-inch column, and adjust them to microwaved reactions from others.
Most reporters know, or at least believe, that this isn't what their jobs are supposed to be about. We used to be focused on reporting a story in toto. Now we're distracted, dispirited, and somehow aware that a large part of knowledge dissemination is impersonal but subjective, while newspapers in the Elysian format are personal (someone actually wrote the thing, instead of using Wikipedia/Youtube/Buzzfeed as "sources") and objective (what's the format for Facebook? Comment, link, react to comments on link.)
In public houses in American colonial times, the owner would secure several newspapers to a rack with iron bars running down their spines, so people could read the papers without stealing them. That bar is long gone, and the fate of newspapers is undecided.
6 years ago