Greetings from Vermont. Writing you a short blog tonight instead of our Bob and Zip Show podcast. We will miss our Wednesday episode, returning on Friday.
Lisa and I just watched a movie on Netflix. Which is a bit unusual these days, as we typically binge watch series, sometimes 2 or more episodes a night. In fact if an interesting series comes out on AppleTV or HBO, like the current “Mare of Easttown” starring Kate Winslet, we find it rude that we have to wait a whole week for the next episode.
Last night we quickly read the preview for “State of Play”, starring Russell Crowe and Ben Afleck. It a story about a newspaper coming to grips with declining revenues, competition from blogs, and how each handles a political scandal. There’s a lot more to it than that, but I don’t like to give away anything.
These days almost everything we watch is new. As in 2020 or newer. If it’s older, it’s a series we missed. But not a movie. I know it’s not right to say, but old movies aren’t what everyone’s talking about. So even if they’re great, I’d rather be enjoying and commenting on today’s water cooler must see shows. (Mare of Easttown is great , by the way. A slow build but worth it. At least so far, Episode 5 was a homer).
So as the movie started, I suddenly noticed it must be old. Amazing how quickly you get used to HDTV in by 4K. Plus Russell Crowe was a bit (not much) leaner and Ben Afleck looked younger. I considered ditching it, when I noticed it was made in 2009. That was “eons ago”.
Lisa and I were captivated. You see in 2009 newspapers were not yet dead, but they were feeling the heat. And Facebook was only 5 years old. It was in kindergarten. So a reporter had resources to research and dig up facts. But the bloggers were starting to eat their lunch. With salacious rumors and what we now call clickbait.
The business model for newspapers is now dead.
And most people get their news for free, via social media. Or Cable opinion shows. Or what is left of talk radio: which for some reason has mostly opinion talk shows. And yes, mostly right wing, because it’s “dramatic” and entertaining.
There used to be armies of reporters digging for facts and truth. Those newsrooms are empty, except for a few larger market stations operating with fraction of what used to be.
Instead now we trade in opinions. And not only is there almost no fact checking, but if there was, it wouldn’t attract an audience. We’re hooked on drama. Not boring research.
And there are no leaders. Only followers. When everyone has a multimedia broadcast platform in the palms of their hands, the old media no longer leads. They have to compete with wherever the viral horde wants to go.
There was an old saying in the TV News biz: “If it bleeds, it leads”. Now it’s more like “If it clicks, it sticks”.
Watch “State of Play” and marvel at how quickly our news ecosystem has morphed into… what?
Reach me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Radio Host from age 14 to Present. Currently blogging, planning to launch a new radio show later this year.
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