There have been staggering news articles in the media industry press about the print media that I think can shed some light on the total failure of newspaper/newsmagazines at effectively reporting on our government and its failures.
According to Ross Fadner at MediaPost "THE NEWSPAPER INDUSTRY TURNED IN one of its worst 12 months ever in terms of circulation performance, .."
Interestingly, the only major newspaper to have a gain in circulation was the good old New York Times.
Magazines did even worse, with a massive drop in ad revenue (measured in ad pages).
Check out: As "Serious" News Magazines Slide, A Pocket Of The Genre Perks Up
Newsweek saw subscriptions climb a statistically insignificant 2.5 percent--unimpressive, but better than Time's 0.6 percent or U.S. News & World Report's near-moribund 0.3 percent.
Taking a closer look at the hard news category, however, two publications appear to stand out from the pack, for various reasons.
The Economist's North American print edition saw a subscription increase of 14.2 percent over the first half of 2005, while Dennis Publishing's The Week saw its subscriptions climb 43 percent. "The traditional newsweeklies have become less news magazines and more popular culture magazines," says Justin B. Smith, The Week's president.
So many of the news outlets, facing secular decline in readership, have looked to popular culture to boost circulation. Everyone wants to be People Magazine, so you find a focus on celebrity, not analysis.
Is it any wonder, then, that U.S. News and World Report may be in its death throes and Time/Newsweek foundering? With 4 covers a year dedicated to pandering to the Christ crowd, and searing analytical pieces such as issues dedicated to Dan Brown, the magazines have become as substantial as a giant bite of air.
So why does the MSM fail us in providing analysis, reporting, or balanced coverage? Because when you are shrinking, you get into a vicious cycle. To save costs, you cut staff quantity and quality. To grow revenue, you try to tie into mass culture. Unfortunately, crap remains crap.
Here's to the good old days of print media. And, hopefully, to the good new days of smaller niche pubs and online media.