A thoughtful Frontburnervian shares his perspective on the media revolution from a consumer’s point of view:
I’m not sure if I am representative of any specific demographic or readership group, but here is how my news consuming habits have changed over the past 3 years. I am a 45 year old male, college educated, professional, among the top 5% of earners nationwide (btw that is a huge group – and I just made the cut so don’t assume too much) My typical news cycle routine is as follows:
Two years ago my wife and I would read 3 newspapers each morning (DMN, StarTelegram, and WSJ). We will always read the WSJ because of the quaility of writing, both for hard news reporting as well as the breadth of features. Politics aside, and without sounding elitist or snooty, I view the WSJ as a thinking person’s newspaper. We tolerate the DMN and the Star-Telegram for the local coverage. Unfortunately they seem to have become police blotters and wire report rags without much real reporting on local issues. The linkage between DMN and Channel 8 has become so transparent I can’t watch anymore. We recently stopped taking the DMN and will likely cancel the Star-Telegram soon too.
When I get to my desk each morning I go online to read financial and business headlines related to the companies I work with and compete against. This is made very simple by several portals like Yahoo and others. In less than 10 minutes I know what’s important to me from a business and financial standpoint in today’s news.
Since the horrific news on 9/11 and the ensuing military actions overseas I check Drudge Report throughout the day–not because they are accurate or thorough, but they are quick to put up the news as it happens. At first I developed this habit so I would know if ‘something else has happened.’ Now it’s just a pulse check for any breaking news worth digging into (this website has become tedious as it seems to have morphed into nothing more than a tabloid with no original reporting–but they do put up the headlines faster than anywhere else I’ve seen). I check your Frontburner several times a week for updates on local news and events. Even though I live in Tarrant county I am still interested in and amused by the government of Dallas in all the rings of the circus–city council, DISD, county commissioners, etc., and yours is a ceaseless source of news and updates with gossip and entertainment news sprinkled throughout.
Lastly I enjoy closing the news cycle with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. I may not agree with his politics, but he is undeniably funny and forces me to constantly question my own ideological beliefs as wells as those around me. I want to avoid blindly following any set of principles or ideological groups. Most of today’s news outlets fall into the Red / Blue State, Conservative / Liberal, dichotomies that ignores intellectually honest and heterogenous belief systems.
The one thing I have completely eliminated from my news consumption is the evening TV news. By the time the locals and the networks come on, it feels like they are reading that morning’s paper to me–I already heard all this, so they add nothing new for me.
With technology driving rapid changes in print and broadcast media, it will be interesting to see how news is delivered in the years to come. When I can download the content I am interested in onto my iPod video, connect it to my TV and watch at my leisure, while I read the latest on my favorite news portals online, exactly what role will the TV networks and traditional newspaper publishers play? I see them becoming part of history lessons taught in journalism and business schools very soon. Case studies on how disruptive technologies combined with social and cultural changes can render established business models obsolete in the blink of a young girl’s eye.