Mainstream media is dying. The network evening news audience is in steady decline; the big three magazine publishers, Time Inc., Condé Nast and Hearst have all closed or consolidated titles; and the newspaper industry has been especially ravaged, with dailies folding across the country. Increasingly people get their news from the internet and from cable channels. Advertisers are moving on to Google and other non-traditional sources. Do these developments leave us better off?
The democratization of news, in an unfiltered internet to which all bloggers and news aggregators have equal access, is a good thing. It encourages a diversity of voices, competing to provide information and analysis. Others argue that the public loses when traditional journalistic standards are no longer upheld, and where resources to investigate and report critical stories are no longer available. Can mainstream media re-invent itself to thrive in a digital age? Does it matter?