Posted by: kristopherhouston | October 24, 2011

Robert McChesney is a Downer

Robert McChesney is a downer. As a journalism undergrad taking courses in advanced journalism studies, if I were to sit down and talk with Mr. McChesney over a cup of coffee at Floyd’s down the street any day this week, I think I’d go home and stay in bed for a couple of days until my wife had a chance to fill my Zoloft prescription. For that very reason, I’d like to take a second to address what I might call “The Beauty of Journalism.” The most beautiful thing about the deterioration of our field over the last decade is that rather than going away, journalism has simply shattered into subgroups of communication. Where McChesney complained about low wages for journalists, lack of contextualization and special puppet-like reporting based on the interests of the wealthy and large media conglomerates, I see citizens posting to blogs, updating Facebook walls and tweeting events and writing outside of the lines and rules of conventional journalism. I see the decline in mainstream media sources (or at least the perceived decline) like the morning news, paper newspapers and local news radio as an expansion of individual media choice where the mainstream consumer is no longer trapped with what journalists deliver, but now choose where to get their information. But most important of all beyond any argument about the state of journalism today is that the responsibility of interpreting the “truth” and personal impact of so much information that is so readily available regardless of time, social status, education level, race or location now lies in the hands of the individual. Like McChesney said in his reference to another time and the role of the media, “the media do not necessarily tell you what to think, but they tell you what to think about, and how to think about it;” I think it’s even better to have the freedom to choose who is telling me anything and leaving the thinking to me.
Discussion ?’s
Is it wrong for media organizations to be profit driven?
What role should the consumer play in responsible media consumption?

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