The Mainstream Media Has No Shortage Of Resources

from the doing-less-with-more dept

You regularly see people in the newspaper business, as well as some professional media critics, complaining about the terrible consequences of falling advertising revenues in the mainstream media. There seems to be a worry that as the Internet makes the news business more competitive, traditional media organizations won't be able to afford to do "real" reporting any more. It's not a crazy argument, but more often, the opposite seems to be true. Take the recently-completed Democratic Party convention. Ezra Klein points out that there were a ton of reporters who had to justify their presence at the convention, and so rather than focusing on what was happening on the stage (which they could have just as easily done by watching it on TV) they wandered around looking for trumped-up controversy to cover, giving undue attention (in Ezra's view) to a few disgruntled Clinton supporters. Meanwhile, Matt Yglesias points out that CNN appears to have flown its stars to Denver, put them up in hotels, and constructed an elaborate new set for them, all so they could "cover" the convention in precisely the same way they would have covered it if those same stars had stayed at home in Atlanta or DC. Far from having inadequate resources, on the most high-profile news stories, the mainstream media seems to squander vast sums of money on things that only marginally improve the quality of their coverage. There are a variety of factors that may be undermining the quality of mainstream media coverage, but at the moment, a lack of resources doesn't seem to be among them.



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    lavi d (profile), Sep 2nd, 2008 @ 10:36am

    I Thought You Were Going to Say...

    The Mainstream Media Has No Shortage Of Resources...

    ...with which to annoy the public.

    It would be funny to watch Old Media execs blather on about what an exciting new "space" the internet is if they weren't, at the same time, desperately trying to neuter it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2008 @ 10:39am

    This is whats wrong . .

    "the mainstream media seems to squander vast sums of money on things that only marginally improve the quality of their coverage"

    The mainstream media (using CNN here) is not in the "coverage" business, they are in the business of selling tampons, dish detergent, tort lawyers, etc. They spend money based on what will increase thier advertising revenue dollars and none of the "mainstream" television organizations really seem to view actually improving the quality of the information they provide as important to increasing advertising revenue. Ergo, thats not where they spend thier money.

     

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    Nick Stamoulis, Sep 2nd, 2008 @ 11:13am

    Sure they could have stayed home and covered it the same way but then how serious of a media outlet would they be perceived? Whether they bring much to the table in terms of informational coverage, viewers believe being "at the scene" is the only way to truly deliver the news.

     

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      Yakko Warner, Sep 2nd, 2008 @ 2:43pm

      Re:

      I agree. If they just saw their "product" as the news itself, there'd be no reason for all the pomp and circumstance of sending out their top dogs. It's as much, if not more, about the presentation of the news as it is the news itself, and so they fly out their top anchors to the scene to enhance their presentation, thus making their "product" more valuable.

       

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    Keith Jolie, Sep 2nd, 2008 @ 11:26am

    Concentrate on circulation

    Why newspapers don't get something going with an online advertising agents (like google...) is beyond me. If they focused on creating a great product with a high circulation rate they could simply insert the advertising from the agent without having to employ advertising sales and marketing teams. This would result in a much lower internal overhead. This would also spawn a whole bunch of new small entrepreneurial businesses that specialized in creating ads that met the online distribution networks layout requirements.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2008 @ 12:35pm

      Re: Concentrate on circulation

      Hmmm.... why not use google mode of advertising:

      I would say the reason is liability. TV channels are required to check if the advertisers comply to a set of regulation and online advertisers are not.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2008 @ 12:42pm

        Re: Re: Concentrate on circulation

        I'm just saying - you could do it that way...
        push the costs out to the ad "agencies" which is essentially what google is.

         

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    chris (profile), Sep 2nd, 2008 @ 11:52am

    news guys have to fly around the world

    that's the only time they get to wear those khaki vest things and pretend to be indiana jones.

    maybe i'm alone here, but i just love to watch aging white guys fail to keep the fear out of their voices when they report from war zones and disaster areas. watching them be frightened while sitting 10 miles away from any real activity is just extra win.

    doubly so for weather guys. i don't really believe there is a hurricane unless some jackass from a news agency is standing in the driving wind and rain taking his over privileged life in his own hands.

    that what hard hitting news is all about: getting paid fat stacks to fly around the world and repeat what the government has told you to say.

     

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    Enrico Suarve, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 2:56am

    They were actually there...

    ignoring the stage, looking for other stories and managed to miss

    Riots (in the police's own description)
    Tear Gas
    Mass Protests
    Rubber Bullets
    Illegal arrest and detention of journalists
    Confiscation of journalists cameras and recording devices
    Pre-emptive raids on journalists apartments

    Where were they looking exactly?

    MSM - blinkered, irrelevant bunch of stenographers (but with great hair)

     

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      Enrico Suarve, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 3:19am

      Re: They were actually there...

      Just realised the footage quoted is actually the RNC but apparently more or less the same thing happened at both so we're still good

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 4:59am

    One good thing

    That has come from the rise of todays corporate, for profit, info-tainment news, is the rise of the info-babe. From CNN to FOXNEWS, we are living in the era of the info-babe. Yeah thier vacuous and in many cases seem hardly capable of even just reading the corporate tripe scrolling across thier teleprompters. However, a nice rack and a hot hairdo, isnt that really what an informed public is all about.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 5:00am

      Re: One good thing

      "However, a nice rack and a hot hairdo, isnt that really what an informed public is all about."


      A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down . . .

       

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    GPS Tracking, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 8:49am

    Maybe the mainstream media will realize their advertising rates are too high. The internet is more effective anyway.

     

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    Cindy C, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 9:52am

    How do CNN and other cable outlets stand-in for the MSM as a whole? All of the 'death of media' hoopla is about print media. I DO think that sending a team of reporters when sending a few would suffice is overkill, but what people want to read in the newspaper is their favorite columnist's take on the ordeal.

    Unless people back off of their habits of treating journalists like best friends or movie stars, the only ones left will be Dowd and Brooks making six figures, while they lay off the "real" reporters making one-third of that!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 8:12am

    Hey wait . . . .

    "Unless people back off of their habits of treating journalists like best friends or movie stars, the only ones left will be Dowd and Brooks making six figures, while they lay off the "real" reporters making one-third of that!"

    What about Shields . . .

     

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