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Opinion | News How the economics of business changed the news itself

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In uncomfortable times, such as now, nostalgia can become a drug. But it’s good to remember fondly the days when newspapers were filled with advertisements for department stores, grocery stores, and car dealerships.

And the news, much of it tragic. The world is a crumbling place, and as journalists say it doesn’t report planes that have landed safely. Yet newspapers became increasingly important, more so and served a different function when they were substantively supported by local businesses’ advertising rather than by readers’ digital subscriptions.

As Andrey Mir argues in Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, How the Media Polarized Us: The title of Mir’s essay treats his subject matter, ‘media’ and ‘newspaper’ as synonyms. But social media and cable TV have pulled newspapers in their direction.

Mir, author of “Postjournalism and the Death of Newspapers,” says the internet is the culprit. It destroyed the newspaper’s monopoly on amassing a rich, mature, broad readership for advertisers that advertisers value. Mir believes that the newspaper’s “reliance on advertising” “dictated its attitude toward its readers.” It was a respectful attitude towards readers who wanted to make their own judgments or who disliked the political agenda advanced in the report.

The collapse of the newspaper’s ad-based business model began with the migration of classified advertising to the Internet. In 2000, they donated his $19.6 billion to the newspaper. That’s about a third of the newspaper’s revenue. In 2013, his $51 billion ad revenue for Google surpassed his $23 billion total ad revenue for American newspapers. By 2018, revenue from advertising was just $2.2 billion. Advertisers increasingly concluded that newspaper advertising was “an expensive and inefficient way to carpet bomb a targeted audience”. started.

“Even the strongest American newspapers,” Mir says. In other words, “journalism wanted a new partner.” Digital His subscriptions can be increased by anger and fear, polarizing fertilizers. The editors “incited the digitized, urban, educated, and progressive youth to political outrage.”

The newspaper’s advertising-based business model appealed to the moderate middle class of society and “restrained the journalist’s natural liberal predisposition.” The digital subscription business model has “elevated the role of progressive discourse producers,” academics and other social justice warriors, and “empowered activism as a mindset.” The definition of the new model is “strength of self-expression in pursuit of response”. By the early 2010s, “the need for advertising to appeal to the median American” was replaced by the pursuit of digital his subscriptions from ideologically motivated readers, Mir said. say.

In 2011, college-educated and college-educated urbanites aged 18 to 49 reached the “Awareness Threshold”, equivalent to 60% of the cohort using social media. 2016 was a year of political upheaval, with the more conservative demographic crossing this threshold. It gave the mainstream media a product they could sell to their digital subscribers — Donald Trump as an “existential danger.”

Suddenly, according to Mir, subscriptions could be asked as “donations to causes,” “resisting,” etc. “Fear has replaced news as a commodity.” This new business model has “turned the media into a polarizing agent.” Right-wing news outlets have quickly learned a new game of selling fear frissons instead of news: the fear of being demographically “replaced” by political and sexual indoctrination of the K-12, etc. .

Mir believes all this has created “post-journalism”. Thereby, the mainstream media provides “news verification” rather than news. This is an examination of news that is confused “within a particular value system.” This business model—the media as “polarizing agents”—results in a tiering of newspapers, as it brings great rewards to only a few newspapers of national importance.

“People want their disturbing news verified by authoritative notaries with more followers. Viewers want to pay only mainstream media outlets like new york times Also Washington Post…Most subscription money flows to a few giants. The new subscription model has not only led to media polarization, but also to media concentration. “

Mir notes that journalism wanted the image of the world to fit the world, while “post-journalism wants the world to fit the image of itself.” Post-journalism has turned the media into a crowdfunding ministry of truth.” Although he paints with broad brushes and a handful of pastels, his portrayal of today’s media world There is a suitable adjective for It’s newsworthy.