Posted by: katieaoreilly | October 15, 2014

Make the money, make the news

There is much to be said about the influence of money at the organizational level of news media production. News corporations exist for economic reasons; revenue is always the end goal. But is news broadcasting the appropriate channel for revenue collection?

The clip below (The Newsroom, HBO 2012) shows the struggle of modern journalists to create meaningful content for audiences while still keeping that audience’s attention. Instead of covering topics important to the U.S. economy, the team is forced to open their show with coverage of the Casey Anthony trial, solely because it brings in more revenue for the network. Here, the desire to increase profits determines the stories the news team is allowed to broadcast, overriding the professional values of each member. This is what John H. McManus (1994) calls Market-Driven Journalism. According to Pew Research Center’s 2014 State of the News Media report, 69% of financial support for news comes from advertising. Losing audiences means losing sponsors, but keeping them could mean losing content and in some cases, journalistic integrity.

Thomas Jefferson famously claimed that “the cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate.” How though, can our democracy be sustained when the current entertainment news cycle only brings them stories born from capitalism? Where does the electorate go to become educated if they can no longer rely on the news?

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