Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The illusion of media choice

US News and World Report has a good article on media consolidation.

It's commonly believed that the explosion in news outlets (primarily via cable TV and the Internet) has increased the diversity of product choice.

However, the magazine points out that although the number of news outlets has exploded, the number of journalists has remained static.

Says Tom Goldstein, director of mass communications at the University of California-Berkeley: "Resources are in the distribution rather than the collection of news."

The weekly added: Today, about a dozen media corporations—the largest is Gannett Co., followed by the Tribune Co.—own roughly one third of the country's more than 1,400 daily newspapers.

In other words, the change is not in being able to see a wider variety of opinions or deeper news coverage. The change is that now, you can see the same people's opinions and the same superficial infotainment in many different place.

It's not choice, but the illusion of choice.

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