Home > BLOG 4, Capstone > Blog 4: The Importance of Public Media

Blog 4: The Importance of Public Media

For many years now the media landscape has been shifting in many different directions. With the advent of the internet, it has become far easier to send and receive information to/from a seemingly unlimited quantity of sources. Internet sources have become a much more popular destination for information than the “traditional” sources (like tv, radio and print news). I think there are two key reasons for this:

One, as a consumer of information the internet is an attractive source because it pools multiple sources of information for a reasonable price. Even though most people pay their service provider for access, there is no limit to the amount of sources (access comes as a flat-rate fee). Newspapers and magazines are pay-per-source and even TV chanels are bundled in packages such that they are somewhat pay-per-source.

Two, as a source of information, the amount of people who can access my information is unlimited, whereas TV, print and radio are all limited to specific markets. This can help increase my ad revenues and I can begin to build a following beyond the limits of my own community.

While each of those are good reasons to jump on the new-media bandwagon, I would argue that traditional media is still very much relevant and necessary. For one, I agree with Silver et. al when they said that blogs and social media can never replace these types of sources because they don’t have a system of fact-checking in place. Also public media sources like PBS and NPR are important because they are typically non-profit in nature. Privatized news sources like CNN or Fox News may provide some of the same information at times, but when profit is involved, there is an assumed sense of a desire to increase traffic to their own sources to help increase revenues from advertising. Thus stories that are more polarizing or provacative typically get the spotlight over stories that won’t bring in as many people. That’s not to say that NPR or PBS won’t play these same stories. However, as a consumer of their information, I feel there exists a better sense of accountability when I know these stories won’t bring them any more revenue than they would have already had. Also, I like the idea of a media source running on public donations because I feel they are looking out for their market’s interest instead of the interests of corporate backers. These are all things that the privatized “new” media sources can never incorporate in their existing form. So please, support your local public media. Also, check out the following graphic about the appropriations of gov’t funding for public media:

  1. November 9, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Nice post overall. Good discussion of the issues and values of public media. But do you think, given all of the other cable TV stations and Internet sites, that we could now get away without public media? Do you think it offers something we can’t find in these other sources?

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