Blog Post 4: Internet, Economy, and the News

We talked yesterday about the impact of the internet and expansions in technology on business and the economy, and more specifically on the media. The internet has made it easier for businesses to operate, but also for new businesses to emerge without having to jump over the traditional hurdles that used to prevent potential businesses from cropping up. Whereas businesses used to need to be able to produce their products, distribute them and market them all on their own, the internet now makes it possible to contract production and distribution and to advertise for free on platforms like youtube.

The barriers for new potential news sources are even lower; what used to require a printing press, a subscriber base, and a distribution network as well as an office and an army of reporters can now be done by anybody with a computer who has interesting things to say. This blog post, for example, could potentially attract just as many viewers as an article on a major publication. (It won’t because people aren’t quite as interested in what I have to say. But it could…) Moreover, newspapers and other sources of news are now competing on a national and international level with all of the other stuff on the internet, and not on a regional level like they used to. ┬áThe point is that big time news sources, along with their credibility and the trust that we place in them, are under threat from a large number of smaller news publications online.

The emergence of these new news sources impacts the way that we consume news. Print and televised media used to be consumed at certain times of day in more constant settings: the evening news on the couch in the living room; the morning paper at the kitchen table with breakfast or on the subway to work. With online media, there is no stable timetable for news, only an insatiable desire for news to come faster and in real time. Articles and videos are consumed at all times of the day in many different places in small increments on smart phones and computers rather than at specific times in specific places. Last night, for example, I missed the debate and wanted to know what happened. Instead of waiting to read the morning paper or watch the news the next day, I just went on my phone when I got home from Lamont that night and was able to watch a debate recap that had already been put together.

The result is that news can not only be reported by anybody on various platforms, but also that news needs to be reported fast and in real time. Although the benefits to this trend allow us to consume news at our convenience and to learn whats happening as it happens, we also miss out on the thoroughness and reliability that used to be nearly taken for granted with any piece of news that we saw on a trusted platform. Today, even major news publications need to publish quickly in order to keep up, and the result is often hasty and incomplete news coverage. I remember watching the news a few years ago when a bunch of government documents were released, and the broadcasters were literally reporting on thousands of documents that had only been released about ten minutes prior. They were reporting news instantly, but nobody had even been able to read the documents in their entirety yet, let alone read them closely, speak to other sources, or come up with significant analysis. The result was a total mess, and an uninformative one at that. Good news needs time, and in the age of the internet I’m afraid that the reliable and thorough news that we need in order to stay properly informed will die out or diminish in favor of instant, real time scoops.

2 Comments »

  1. Mike Smith

    October 2, 2016 @ 8:14 PM

    1

    I think this is a fascinating topic, which we covered only at a high level in class. You’ve gone deeper, but what about other interactions. Take The Harvard Crimson. What stresses are they under by trying to publish both a print and online version? Which (print or online) is given preference? Can you publish both well? What might be done better if one was given preference? Who is thinking about these questions at the Crimson? You might ask some of your fellow Harvard students that work there. (And since I don’t know the answers, I’d love to hear what you learn. And if you believe the answers you get back.)

  2. school of applied science

    November 10, 2016 @ 8:22 PM

    2

    Not only big companies, small companies also now depend on the use of the internet. All businesses and news updates all with the help of the Internet in order to spread all over the world. Thanks share this topic very informative

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