The Hezitorial Regarding Journalism
YONKERS, NY — December 12, 2019 — Some people suggest that the hyper-local news market undermined itself over the last two decades. Those times were simpler, less sophisticated, and timid in its exposure of pertinent information on the local, state, and national plane. In those days, the populace was not as well informed as they may have thought. There were many outlets that did excellent work, especially when they were permitted to report the news, as opposed to the fiscal and political demands that would come to undermine the cohesiveness of community. It was not too long ago suggested that people were stressed by reading, listening, as well as watching the news. Psychiatrists and psychologists suggested it was best to decompress from the stresses of an ever changing landscape of personal, business, and social pressures.
The Internet sated some of our fragile albeit complex needs. Social media became the marketplace which many thought would be a gathering place for us to socialize, develop relationships, and gain insight to hyperlocal news that was alas sanitized of much integrity. Our capacity to relate to one another waned, eclipsed by the superficiality of the Internet, as well as its lack of social intimacy, passion, cerebral and physical. Our reality changed in digital degrees.
Our world moved from the real, to the “almost” real. We were seduced by the power of search engines for facts, not always able to discern fact from fiction, or even outright falsehood. The world which nurtured us in the past was not socially acceptable. It was in fact incongruous with an ever burgeoning reality.
Governments initially responded by meeting the needs of those still involved by engaging social media to give expression to their demeanor; on target, off target, or simply wishful thinking. Outcome, whether intentioned or not, became a power play of forthright reporting in juxtaposition to the mirage painted before the gullible. What was down, was said to be up. Prominence would come to be defined as “power”, whether in relationships, societal structures, and/or business. Denial of fact(s), led to chastising, demeaning, and denigrating those who had the audacity to question. The divisions of the present are subsumed by the faux world and quackery of the digital divide whether in print or in digital format.
Most people have become addicted to the mesmerizing, entrancing, and seductive opioids that enter our minds via social media, digitally, in print, from radio, of TV. Many of us are lost whether old or young. We do not possess the ingredients to extricate ourselves from the make believe.
One of the most debilitating aspects of our present is that we engage in less discourse than ever before. We have become segregated and cloistered by and within our minds, becoming less capable to interact with the real world in all its complexities and challenges.
The fault line is often the bottom line. Yes, it is money!
News reporting today has moved from delving into the most pertinent issues that define our needs and aspirations. Those concerns are gleaned locally. That was then, and for too many, no longer.
Our residence is our center. It is where we have created a relationship, perhaps begat children from our love for another. Earning capacity is most pertinent. We engage with friends and share a meal at home or at a restaurant. We focus on the safety of where we reside for our sake and those we love. We worry over whether our children are getting a good education. Taxes impact us. Emergency services; police, fire, and ambulance response impact us. Yet our concerns and the options which we may not be aware, are hidden from us. While not the panacea, hyperlocal news is relevant but has waned when it was needed most.
Hyper-local news reporting, unadulterated by dogma, is close to extinction in our epoch, yet societal benefits have been revealed in Josh Stearns’ article “How We Know Journalism Is Good For Democracy”
While mainstream media is undermined financially and thereby under siege, digital media is cautiously becoming more relevant in responding to the visceral needs and desires of those who have gravitated to the new media. In addition to, though not necessarily supplanting mainstream media. The recently consummated GateHouse Media’s purchase of Gannett have seemingly relinquished societal responsibility to that of the almighty dollar. 200 hundred people were made redundant at the Journal News alone last Thursday. More are expected to be fired by February 2020. The Journal News covers Westchester, Rockland, and Orange Counties. Westchester County has a population of some 1.2 million residents alone, yet the circulation of the Journal News/LoHud is noted to be under 25,000 in print and digitally.
One of the most deleterious aspects of the various digital media outlets is that they are not supported by the various advertising agencies who instead prefer to guide their clients to advertise in print publications. The cost to advertise in print may be $3,000-$5,000 a page for one time, as opposed to having the capacity to be online for the same price for a year, 24/7.
Undermining print is the fact that reporting, once balanced in its reporting expression leans either right or left, and in doing so, the owner of media may insinuate political dogma that undermines the integrity of the reporting in deference to the mighty dollar over the integrity of the reporting.
The most prominent concern is that should main stream media not focus on meeting the needs of the communities it once served well, they will stunt their longevity by not being responsive to those whom they suggest they serve.
Digital media has found its niche, the hyperlocal market, due to the lack of interest and abandonment of main stream media who chose to depart the scene. What was the catalyst that caused mainstream media to depart the hyperlocal marketplace? No matter the blunder and rationale, It has become evident that it continues to gut the depth of their reporting staff, the Journal News/LoHud operation will not be able to return to a fiscally sound state.
The Journal News/LoHud operation demands introspection by mainstream media operations which has redefined itself by fact of the merger, but its rationale and vision has yet to be revealed to the reader.
In light of the gargantuan upheaval to the world of media, the Yonkers Tribune asks if we keep you informed, are relevant to your concerns, engage you intellectually regarding concerns and issues that also delve into other disciplines and teachings. Praise is welcome! As importantly, please share deficiencies you have come to recognize. Our intent is to find remedy and balance to the best of our capacity.