Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Is Main Stream Media Suffering an Identity Crisis?

For those that know me, you know I am a big fan of community supported media. NPR, the News Hour with Jim Lehrer and of course Front Line are all great outlets to get some balance when on a steady mainstream media news diet like I know we all are. I am really excited to point out a series that starts that starts tonight on Front Line called, News War. Go check out the series on the Web; it is a great site and they integrate many new media tools to get viewers interacting with the content and connecting with other viewers. PBS does a great job of virtualizing their content and that is another area I am passionate about; but that is a topic for a future blog post. :)

So back to the News War.

What is wrong with the mainstream media? And to be fair, what happened to the promise of citizen journalism? So far it seems the explosion of blogs has done less to enable access to the truth and more to blow up sensational coverage of celebrities and voyeuristic mainstream news coverage. Off the top of my head TMZ.com, The Defamer and such come to mind. They have also had huge impact in political realm as we are all well aware. John Stewart weighs in as only he can - and what does it say about us that programs making fun of the news or news pundits are becoming some of the most popular shows on TV?

The four part series will investigate how federal prosecution has chilled investigative reporting, how the business of news today has changed in competition for eyeballs with new mediums and information vehicles cropping up every week. It will also look at the blogger movement and how the user’s appetite and preference for consuming information is changing.

Why does this matter to us? In large part becuase our reputation as a profession is forever linked to the reputation of the media, and vice versa. Often the relationship between PR and media is contensious but our individual desitinys are closely tied to each others success.

I hope you take the time to watch the Front Line series starting tonight and come back to this blog to weigh in.

Is it truth or hype? Are public relations tactics, like astro turfing, just as bad as 24 hour coverage of Anna Nicole Smith and the astronaut gone bad?

Perhaps once the series is complete we can get a group together for a showing? Maybe mix a cocktail hour with a showing of News War then have a discussion as a group on the implications for our profession? Post a comment and let me know what you think!


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