The ways in which Americans receive news, opinion, and even gossip have changed radically over the last two decades. But despite the dramatic shift in how information is delivered, there has been absolutely no change—not in recent years, and not in the last several hundred—in people’s desire to learn about what is going on around them, says E.J. Dionne, Jr. in this new paper on the role of the media in America’s democracy.
“The media democracy needs – and deserves,” disentangles a series of questions raised by another recent Brookings paper, Elaine Kamarck and Ashley Gabriele’s “Seven Trends in Old and New Media.” Addressing several of the trends explored in that paper, Dionne often agrees with the authors, but also qualifies some of their observations, specifically pointing out that:
- Financial trouble for newspapers began before the rise of most of the institutions in the new media world.
Technology may be behind the financial crisis facing print media, but online advertising, and not online journalism is to blame. According to Paul Starr, “If there is one overriding factor behind the current financial crisis of the press, it is simply that the Internet has undermined the newspaper’s role as market intermediary. Advertisers do not need to piggyback on the news to reach consumers, and consumers have other ways to find out about products and sales.”