Should the News be a Public Good?

Jeffrey Maloney

October 27, 2016

The news is a public good and should keep its interests where it really matters. Julia Cage, author of Saving the Media, provides the argument that most people are more concerned about how the news, via “the print,” has died off.

Cage provides an alternative idea: The way we receive the message should not be the main concern, instead it should be the message itself.

Many news companies are much more interested in presenting their content in a way that will obtain the most views, which in turn will make them more money. The more unique visitors and pageviews that a news company obtains on an article or breaking news, the more companies will pay for advertising.

Nonprofit companies do not get to make profit based on how many people view their article. Trip Jennings from New Mexico In Depth came as a guest speaker to our Media Management class. He expressed that New Mexico In Depth, along with other nonprofit news media organizations are not interested in making a profit; they are more interested in breaking huge news stories.  

If I’m an underpaid journo, and I gotta pay my gas and electric this month, I’m not writing about boring Jeb Bush. I’m writing about Trump.” Michael Marinaccio, a political theorist, living in Washington DC, expressed how the simple self-interest of the journalist can shape what they write about simply because they want to make more money too.  

With the self-interest in mind, we, as readers and consumers of news media,  must think about what is more important – making more money or publishing and sharing accurate, credible, balanced and reliable information.  

Converting more and more news media companies to create news that is more interested in the story rather than the money is very difficult to do; however I believe that if companies would start using the non-profit tactics, we would expect higher quality news stories than ever before.

Further Readings:

It’s time for nonprofit media organizations Michael Marinaccio

News is a Public Good  Julia Cage

 

shutterstock_112704628Jeffrey Maloney is a Criminology Major, Journalism Minor at the University of New Mexico

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