Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Media Meltdown

Below the radar of the subprime crisis and credit crunch are signs of distress in American media. ABC and CBS are cutting jobs, and Newsweek is shrinking its staff with over 100 buyouts.

According to the Newspaper Association of America, total print advertising revenue in 2007 fell 9.4 percent to $42 billion compared to 2006, the most severe decline since the association started measuring in 1950.

Not only are some journalists losing their jobs but those who remain are working harder than ever. In a survey, the majority of more than 1200 media people said they are being asked to do more today that in past years, among other duties, contributing to online versions of their publications.

Little wonder, then, that in the recent Pew survey, journalists expressed more concern about "the financial crisis facing news organizations" than traditional worries about the credibility and the quality of news coverage.

As media shrink, how much more will our picture of the world be distorted? As it is, in the first three months of this year, only 4 percent of the news was devoted to Iraq, compared to 23 percent in the same period of the year before. It's so much easier and cheaper to cover every minute of the presidential candidates' days than a war that one of them will have to resolve.

News is news, isn't it?

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