COMMENTARY: ON MEDIA & CULTURE

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Are we pushing a digital world on people who simply aren’t ready for it?

It’s a question that comes to mind after perusing the media landscape, both the day’s news and what’s trending on social media. The overall impression is that we are currently stuck in the center of something akin to a New Age civil war, with Americans divided into two camps: The vaxxed, and the unvaxxed.

How did we get here?

You have to wonder how the news of the day, every day, throughout the pandemic contributed to this mayhem. The digital age mandate that instructs news outlets…


This We Need to Discuss

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Why do Americans lose their minds over news today?

We just had to ask.

The answer is compelling. And complicated.

The latest survey results from the Trust in News Project out of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford illustrate not only how Americans feel about the news today, but also reveals our weaknesses as a society. As always, we’re more curious as to the why. Here’s what’s up in the land of the free.

Sure, political polarization is a huge part of the problem — in fact, such polarization is more pronounced here…


Expert Advice for Dealing with Grief and Bereavement

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With the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11 upon us, retrospectives and remembrances are in the news. These works of journalism bring us back to that day, thinking about the way things were, along with who and what we lost.

In the Fair Media Council podcast, FMC Fast Chat, we offer an episode that focuses on dealing with 9/11, coping with the loss and bereavement. Our guest is Allison Gilbert, journalist and, as a result of Sept. 11, now an established grief expert, author, and speaker on the subject. She offers timeless advice…


Don’t Be the Adult Who Makes This One Big Mistake

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Kabul. The delta variant. A hostless Jeopardy.

A fresh swipe at today’s headlines and one thing becomes apparent: Bad news knows no bounds. A heavy news cycle is queuing up to keep us all on edge this fall, hand-in-hand with an active hurricane season. Combined, it means humankind must take the initiative, and rein in its hyperconnected behavior patterns. Just disconnect for a bit. If not for yourself, then for your kids.

One of the biggest mistakes adults make when it comes to news is that we allow it to be seen and heard freely throughout the house. We turn…


The “Ads Free” Trend May Prove to Be One of Media’s Great Regrets

What US Consumers Want From Ads from MarketingCharts.com

There are many interesting predicaments news outlets find themselves facing in the digital age, but here’s one that keeps popping up as it lands in our inboxes on a daily basis.

The major and most common benefit offered by digital news outlets to entice readers to subscribe is this: an ad-free reading experience. On one level, this perk illustrates certain care and consideration for the people willing to ante up their hard-earned cash for subscription services. Yet, on another level, it makes less than no sense at all. In fact, if we fast forward to the future and look back…


As Technology Advances, Heed Old-School Advice

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Today’s news is highly repetitive and available on demand. Here’s the thing: You get to decide when to demand it, so never forget you are ultimately in control of your own news habit.

The reason for the repetition is simple: The media knows you’re not paying attention all of the time, so they’ve eliminated the FOMO — the fear of missing out. The media also knows that the more information they throw at you, the less you are likely to remember, so they repeat the process, over and over again, like a dog chasing its tail.

It’s all about time.


It’s Not Just the Business Side that Became Obsolete

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One of the advantages of an industry falling apart — that’d be news — is that the act of falling apart includes, at its very core, the opportunity to build back better.

In 2009, we all lived through the switch from analog to digital. It didn’t have too much impact on the consumer (maybe you needed a converter box, for which the FCC picked up the $40 tab) but the change came with much handwringing from broadcast types. Just over a decade later, that change has long been forgotten. So why the handwringing? Change is change.

The change from print…


Today’s Media Landscape Requires Skill to Navigate

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When the dust settles, what all this is really about is the need for education.

Originally considered a fad, social media channels have matured and now command the type of advertising revenue once reserved for the loftiest news outlets. Sure, MySpace and Quibi have been completely forgotten, but YouTube just pulled in $7 billion in ad revenue. An impressive haul, especially when you factor in the channel doesn’t actually make any of its own content. It’s a newfangled version of the classic entrepreneurship lesson: Don’t own the hot dog trucks. Own the route.

But the success spawns new rivals into…


The Impact of Such Headlines is Serious

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One of the worst subjects for journalists to cover is the one that hits closest to home: the state of the news industry.

It also happens to be the best subject to gauge a reporter’s level of expertise. But the one thing that stands out the most in all of the hubbub regarding news today is the fact that the state of the industry is separate from the value of journalism.

And that’s where things get messy.

Headline writers seem to take a perverse pleasure in telling us all too often journalism is on its deathbed. Perhaps it’s because that’s…


Thanks so much for reading, Martin! It's much appreciated.

Jaci Clement

Writer. Podcaster. Public Speaker. Media Watchdog. CEO & Executive Director, Fair Media Council

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