Academy Awards, polar vortex, sports programming, trending on social media, live, raw and real: It’s about right now. Maybe we feel more alive if we are engaged in seeing events unfold before our very eyes. We are drawn together in suspense.
And yet, investigative reporting is a thing of the past. It’s not so much about getting it right anymore. The Pew Research Center annual report on the state of the media has been tracking the news industry notes they are more undermanned and unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones or to question information put into its hands. And findings from Pew’s public opinion survey reveals that the public is taking notice. Nearly one-third of the respondents have deserted a news outlet because it no longer provides the news and information of which they had grown accustomed.
If not for TBT (Throwback Thursday) we might never take a moment to reflect. Once more, there is no reason to wonder about anything more than a few moments while you access your tablet or smart phone for an answer. Who won the Super Bowl last year? Who did they defeat? What was the score? Where did they play? Answers: Seattle Seahawks, defeated Denver Broncos, by the score of 43-8, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
So it seems, now we have a culture of immediate gratification and no need for retention. It is any wonder that there seems to be a rise in reported cheating even within the military where honor and honesty are essential values. While the first and hardest-hit industry, newspapers, remains in the spotlight, local TV finds itself newly vulnerable too. The move to digital news and time shifting devices allows us to consume our news, information and entertainment on our own timetable and on our own terms. The result is the rise in binge viewing. Is that a good thing?
What’s happening? Are we becoming so reliant on technology that memory and knowledge are no longer kept in our own memory banks? Have we become so hardened to learning from experience that we focus only on real time reports? Are we choosing reality TV over production values and plotlines? When it comes to news are we forgoing hard news journalism in favor of crowd-sourcing?