What's the matter with media?

Question: Does the American public trust the news media?

Andrew Kohut: Well the American public is more distrustful of the news media than it’s been for some time. But it’s been distrustful of the news media for some time. The public is worried about the political agenda of the media – whether it gets the story right; whether it’s . . . it’s a watchdog for its own sake rather than for the sake of protecting the public interest. They worry . . . It worries about sensationalism; that the media is . . . is too focused on sensationalism. On the other hand, the public is, you know, has a casual (laughter) . . . a casual connection to serious things in the world. But that isn’t to say for the most part and for most people the over emphasis, especially in the cable world, on the Paris Hiltons and the Lindsay Lohans is very troubling to people.

Question: How is media consumption changing?

Andrew Kohut: Well the thing that’s changing media consumption more than anything else is the Internet rising as a primary source of news; and the fact that newspapers and other traditional media – broadcast television – are taking it on the chin. And in particular, newspaper readership is . . . is . . . is really . . . is really hard hit not only by the Internet – the Internet is . . . is . . . is . . . given a . . . given a big . . . has really hurt it a lot – but newspapers have been going down now for . . . for the past . . . for the past decade or more. So these new generations, younger generations of people got their news out of cable, or television; and the newspaper is not so much the indispensable part of life that it is for people who are my age and older.

Question: What issues are not receiving enough coverage?

Andrew Kohut: I think there’s a lot more interest in serious news than . . . than the media gets. And that’s a consequence of the economics of television these days, and even the Internet. What moves the needle on cable news, and even in terms of Internet hits, is the intense . . . the intense interest of relatively small groups of people. The tabloid audience . . . If you’re . . . If you’re interested in tabloid stuff, you’re really very, very interested. And so if you put tabloid material in . . . on a . . . on a . . . on a platform, you can . . . you can go from one percent to three percent, and that’s a 300 percent increase. And that’s golden in terms of money. But there’s a larger percentage of people who feel cut out from . . . from the media. They’re not interested in their . . . in the . . . in the tabloid stuff. They’re not so interested in public policy that, you know, they watch all the Sunday morning shows; but you know the typical news viewer will turn the television on or turn on the Internet – well the Internet’s a different story because they can seek things out – but especially television and feel lost; and even in print these days feel somewhat lost.

Recorded on: 9/14/07

The way in which we assess information has changed so much with the advent of the Internet that traditional media outlets are taking it on the chin, Kohut says.

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
Sponsored
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Keep reading Show less

Preserving truth: How to confront and correct fake news

Journalism got a big wake up call in 2016. Can we be optimistic about the future of media?

Videos
  • "[T]o have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all, you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information," says Craig Newmark.
  • The only constructive way to deal with fake news? Support trustworthy media. In 2018, Newmark was announced as a major donor of two new media organizations, The City, which will report on New York City-area stories which may have otherwise gone unreported, and The Markup, which will report on technology.
  • Greater transparency of fact-checking within media organizations could help confront and correct fake news. Organizations already exist to make media more trustworthy — are we using them? There's The Trust Project, International Fact-Checkers Network, and Tech & Check.
Keep reading Show less