Thursday, September 27, 2007

Journalism in a Free Market

I believe that democracy needs journalism. Just as journalism needs democracy. Yet today our media has become an anti-democratic force in the US because conglomerations and concentration has led to the creation of a handful of massive conglomerates that control virtually all of the US entertainment and news media. In a perfect free market, new business would raise competition, lower prices and increase the quality of goods and services, but unfortunately that isn't happening. Instead, about 5 major oligopolies are dominating the market making it virtually impossible for any other company to enter. And these 5 corporations have only one make money.

A journalists first loyalty should be to the citezens. But what kind of integrity can the news have if it can be bought and sold-like advertising? With the focus turning from public service to profit there is less emphasis on expensively produced news and a new focus on cheap news. The media now serves the needs and concerns of a handful of enormous and powerful companies instead of the people. The major players of the so-called information age are either advertisors, wealthy stockholders or a handful of enormous media corporations. And because most of the news coverage comes from only 5 sources (remember, all with the goal of making money) viewers have no other choices and are forced to watch and depend on what they see. Unfortunately I think there is no democracy when 5 companies own all of the media.

As we discussed in media ethics class..."Because Americans are not informed about substansive and important issues, they are not debating. Because they are not debating, they can't form independent ideas and participate effectively in democracy. Because they don't participate in democracy, they are easily manipulated and controlled..."

Again, good thing student newspapers are defying the trend. Although I understand that advertisment placement probably has an effect on The Breeze, I highly doubt the editors are all money-hungy individuals trying to take over every aspect of the media. At least not yet...

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