Is the Quality of News Diminishing…And Do We Care?
I sat at a PR summit in San Francisco two years back and heard about the immersion of public use of online video and how to incorporate it as part of your overall PR strategy. The promise was that by creating and capturing your story with cell phones, flip video, or camcorders, you could now post your own news onto channels like YouTube, UStream, and the likes, as 7 million+ videos make their way onto Facebook. The promise grew true. More than 180 million U.S. viewers watched 31 billion videos on the Internet last month. As a result, our clients, participate in, and enjoy the success of, posting video to online portals, increasing their brand, sales and loyalists.
But has the new tools we use to capture video diminished the quality of national and local news as it’s reported? And, with so many consumers viewing their news, movies and favorite programs online, for free, do we care?
As reported by The New York Daily News, “While technology has improved our ability to gather and report the news with remarkable speed and precision, it is, at the same time, allowing news executives to diminish its quality,” said one local correspondent. “Technology should be making the news better – instead, it’s making it cheaper.” Tools like Skype, webcams and cell phone video all lower broadcast quality. Also at stake: veteran producers and reporters jobs. ABC News slashed 400 jobs last week to streamline budget. The future? Digital Journalists: segments reported, filmed and edited by jacks-of-all-trades. “They may lack the polish that a traditional four-person crew can provide, but they are much less expensive.”
Having new technology available permits people the opportunity to capture real news, real people, real stories, on the spot, that otherwise may not be captured by a professional crew (i.e. Chicago Fenger High School beating). But keep in mind that with new technology come the shared responsibility for reporting the truth, and sharing good content. Even if the quality isn’t so grand.