Aug 03, 2009

What’s hotter than New York? The news.

Posted by: Marian Salzman In: media| news coverage| pop culture

And the blurring of news and pop culture rages on. … What’s been a hotter global news story lately than Michael Jackson, the pop star of all pop stars? Our culture has even turned our journalists into pop personalities, speculating on their dating habits, their political leanings, questioning their fashion choices, even flagrantly invading their privacy (in the case of ESPN sports reporter Erin Andrews, poor girl).

And that’s the old-school news anchors and reporters, the folks who for the most part are just trying to go about their jobs as they were taught in J-school or while working their way up the ranks. Celebrity bloggers, on the other hand, may lack the journalistic process and ethical guidelines of old-style media, but readers don’t seem to mind. They ride the roller coaster of publicity with glee, maintaining a love-hate relationship with their audience. Original celebrity blogger Perez Hilton may be imperfect, but people forgive him for it daily, lapping up his celebrity access and catty humor. His numbers can’t be denied.

Yes, times have changed. News is the new shopping—we crave it and consume it and share it like candy. We read it all day long, wherever we are. We no longer need a familiar face on our TV at 5 p.m., telling us the day’s news as we sit down to the dinner table. It’s just not the way we consume anymore. We’ve each become our own Tom Brokaw. We got the story hours ago, via mobile news feed over lunch, or between meetings, or on Twitter while sitting in traffic (a no-no!). If we waited until 5 p.m., we’d be riddled with impatience and unable to focus … right?

As we mourn the loss of Walter Cronkite, and we recognize the monumental impact the Father of TV News made on today’s media, his passing marks a milestone in many directions. While we feel lucky to have incredible access to people and news across the globe at any moment, unlike in the days of Cronkite, we can no longer just assume that what we read is the truth.

And with the skyrocketing rise of celebrity-stalker blogs and tabloid news sites, are we dumbing down our culture to an extent that no one wants to read hard news anymore? Can a thorough investigation or a political think piece survive in this market? Who will be qualified to write or produce them if our news organizations continue to fail?

These are just some of the questions we ask in Porter Novelli’s latest Intelligent Dialogue paper, “The Future of News.” It’s one of the most comprehensive and in-depth analyses to date of how social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and blogging are impacting the role and even the very definition of news in modern society. Take a look at our report and let us know your answer.

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