What Drives Media Coverage
|Join the dialogue!
Hear our panelists' perspectives, then tell us what you think.
New technology with its need for instant everything; new corporate parents
with their demand for bottom line focus; and new competitive intensity with
the advent of national, local and internet "all news" outlets. All three
trends are forcing news organizations into uncharted territory where the
standards that guided reporters and editors a generation ago no longer
retain their old authority. Do all these changes mean that our news is
better, more complete and more accessible? Are they the causes of news media
that's out of control? Or is it some of both? What is it that separates
"good" news from "bad" and how can we -- the public and the press --
understand how to make that judgement?
For youth perspectives on these issues, visit Teenvoice.com's E-lections site, featuring student discussions, polls, and other resources. Check our list of resources for more organizations and websites that deal with these issues.
"I think it's not that it's too callous. What you're talking here about is
not even an instinct. You're talking about a tropism. Like you know, 'plants
to light.' I don't think people think about ratings. It's just, go get this
"It's truer today than it was then. That fear is a very large factor in
every newsroom, including myself. And it goes this way. If I don't do it,
somebody else is going to do it. When somebody else does it, they're gonna
get a higher number. They're going to get a better rating, they're going to
get more circulation. This is a reality; the public needs to understand.
There's no joy in saying this. But it is true. That fear increasingly
dictates. And it's the fear that you won't survive. If you believe as I do,
that the first thing is to last, but you have to last for some reason. You
have to have some purpose in lasting. It's very difficult now."
"Try being a news director in this country today. They last about one and a
half years. I mean I've been a news director for over two years, which is
ridiculous. I should have been fired months ago. (LAUGHTER) They last about
14 months. How can anyone lead any organization, and do the things which all
of you are asking us to do, if we're not given the chance to do it? And this
cycle of ratings, of 'you have to get these ratings, or you're out' has got
"I'm telling you that, I worked for a news organization at the time, when
Bill Clinton was going through all of these things which were exposing,
every day, one more thing about him, during the 1992 campaign. And we
thought, as the leading newspaper in the country, we would not report it.
Because we are the leading newspaper in the country. And we will set the
standard. Guess what? The standard took off and raced without us. It didn't
matter what our standards were."