DO WE NEED THE NEWS MEDIA
Jeff Jarvis contends that President Bush’s Thanksgiving trip to Iraq shows how irrelevant the networks have become:
In this age of transparency — of constant cable news and C-Span’s unblinking eye and instant online wire reports and mobile alerts and full transcripts online and more video here and weblog links to coverage everywhere and automated Google news searches and, in sum, the commoditization of news — the role of the newsman has utterly changed … but that news hasn’t caught up to the newsmen yet.
It used to be, we depended on them to tell us what is happening (and some prided themselves on doing it better than others). Those days are over. Toast. “What happened” is the commodity; we can find out what happened anywhere anytime.
The pressthink — if I can borrow Jay’s term — evident in this tale is of pressthinkers still believing that we need them to report this news and that they stand in the position of gatekeeper and newsfeeder and grand informer. They don’t want to admit that’s over.
Bush could have put a webcam on his jet and we all would have watched. He could have put pix up on a weblog and we all would have clicked.
The press crews add very little value to that as things stand now.
That’s only true of live news coverage. C-SPAN hasn’t exactly overtaken the other networks–watching unfiltered news is boring and too time consuming. Most people want the edited version, which requires news judgment.
Further, most of the major news outlets have transformed into part news, part analysis. Really, it’s the talking heads that differentiate the networks, not the camera angles they choose for live events.