Once upon a time there were newspapers. And only newspapers. Then came weekly news magazines. At about the same time the immediacy of radio burst on the landscape. News reels in movie theaters demonstrated the power of adding visual images to the news. Television news was the next logical step.
First there were the networks. They ruled the roost for sometime until cable television launched the concept of 24-hour continuous news. All of which fragmented the news audience more than was even imaginable decades earlier. And before cable news could get too comfortable along came the internet which fragmented news to an almost personal level.
Now, just as internet news was gathering its sea legs, social media has enveloped us with news, news commentary and news feedback to an uncomprehensible degree.
News reporters once restricted to their respective media, themselves are making news “out of the box,” reacting to people who are reacting to their reports. Public figures and celebrities make their own news. Some individuals playing this game have become celebrities in their own rights.
But, in 2020, where are people actually getting their news? Are they being informed by the initial report, by the reaction to the report as spread on social media, or through their favorite news website, or from other commentators who post their own blogs and podcasts, their own YouTube videos or e-newsletters? Go ahead. Try and connect the dots.
According to Pew Research, in 2018, 34 percent of American adults said they prefer their news online. Not surprisingly, a growing trend. Yet, 44 percent admitted to getting their news from television.
As for the reporters, from 2008 through 2018, Pew found that there was an 82 percent increase in the number of online journalists. This, however, was offset with a decline of 25 percent – or 33,000 – print newsroom jobs.
Where is all this going? The next chapter in the news media story is still being written.