All posts by credlingshafer

Is it Possible to Predict the Future of the Media?

As we have learned throughout this class, the relationship between the media and society has always been complex and multi-faceted. With technological advancements, these complexities have grown exponentially. “News” is seen much differently today than it was seen 100 years ago. Today, journalists aim to “break” the news more so than to “explain” the news. Additionally, media outlets are now look and act like traditional businesses while they used to be considered as their own category: news corporations. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the term “journalist” is expanding. Widespread and accessible technological advances allow for almost anyone to act as journalists and spread information instantly (citizen journalism).

Considering how much the media has developed in 100 years, it is very difficult to predict the future of the media. It is very apparent that technology will play a primary role; what role, exactly, is hard to determine. Media experts are also unaware of the future of the media. In an article published by The New York Times, Eric Pfanner even stated, “Predicting the outcome of a revolution is a fool’s game” when discussing technology’s future impact on the media. Despite this statement, he outlines a few inevitable facts about the evolving nature of the media.

Firstly, media will continue to digitalize making almost all media digital. Next, the globalization of media will increase and new markets will emerge. The article also mentioned the difficulty of predicting the future of particular media channels. For example, newspapers and the recording industry have been struggling lately. Is television next? According to Pfinner, probably not due to its increasing similarities to the Internet.


Hopefully the upcoming and inevitable changes will result in more civic participation from members of the society. While the changes in media could also result in isolating and dividing people, ideally, it would work to inform the masses accurately and efficiently. Overall, like Pfinner said, it is almost to impossible to predict what the media will look like when our children are grown, let alone what it will look like five years from now. 

Sexism in the Media: The Exception Proves the Rule

As discussed in class, the media enforces or reinforces any and every stereotype. There are obviously very sexist ads and products on the market, but there are others that seemingly try to promote the equality of the sexes. While these products are admirable, they are the ones that concern me the most. In my opinion, when companies try and promote “feminist” ads, they often just reinforce what they are trying to overcome. In other words, the exception proves the rule. The fact that a very few number of advertisers and companies try to “fight” these stereotypes proves that there is still a major problem with discrimination and sexism. Additionally, the fact that these products and ads that support equal rights are praised so much further proves the exception. These products should be expected not exceptional.  

An example of this exception would be when JC Penny was pestered enough to stop selling a tshirt that said, “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.” Almost immediately after being posted online, people began protesting the shirt for obvious reasons: it suggests that girls should value beauty over brains and that boys are the ones that are supposed to be intellectual. It is great that consumers were so against this sexist tshirt, but again, this objection is an exception. Sexist products, even if they are more subtly sexist, can be seen virtually everywhere and usually people do not protest them. The consequence of the promotion of such products is the indirect reinforcement of what they are trying to prevent: sexism.



Perhaps our society is at the stage where the protest of sexist products should be celebrated, however hopefully we’ll get to the point where ads and products that support equal rights are not seen as exceptional.






The Impact of Citizen Journalism

Citizen journalism has started to take over all forms of media. By using outlets such as Twitter, blogs, Facebook, and Four Square, ordinary people now have the power to spread information quickly and nearly effortlessly. While this impacts our culture in many ways, this new trend has completely changed the way we get our information. For example, important news stories and major events are often publicized or even revealed on Twitter. A perfect example is when an ordinary person, Jim Hanrahan, first broke the news about the airplane that landed in the Hudson River in 2008. Before any professional news source reported on the incredible landing, Hanrahan tweeted, “I just watched a plane crash in the hudson.” From there, obviously the story exploded over the news but this is just one of many examples where the news was first revealed on Twitter by a “citizen journalist”

This new way to report on and receive information is changing the face of news media as we know it. I think this type of journalism would definitely be categorized as “gatewatching” as well as “gatecrashing.” It is “gatewatching” because these citizen journalist are publishing or posting everything and anything, regardless of its “newsworthiness.” It is also “gatecrashing” because it engages in the sharing of content, which is extremely conducive to Twitter. “Gatekeepers,” on the other hand, typically are more active about what they publish and post. This category is reserved for the professional journalists and therefore does not really relate to this kind of media. These forces are mutually reinforcing because they can all work off each other. For example, with the airplane-landing story, it was broken on Twitter, where ordinary people as well as news sources then “shared” it constantly and finally, professional news sources wrote the proficient, full-length stories.

A major challenge dealing with gatewatching, gatecrashing, and gatekeeping is assuring accuracy. Like previously mentioned, citizen journalists can post and share whatever information they want, true or false. This information can spread like wild fire with little hope for quelling false rumors. This is a difficult challenge to overcome considering the vast resources available to the average person. Mostly, I think people have to be aware of where they are getting their information and always double and triple check facts.


Net Neutrality: The Proper Forms of Regulation

            In order to regulate the constant flow of information, the government created the Federal Communications Commission. While the FCC pretty successfully regulates media such as radio, television, and music, the Internet is such a recent and evolving invention that the FCC has had trouble keeping up. The issue of net neutrality is a perfect example. Net neutrality is the idea that broadband providers should treat all data on the Internet equally and so should not be able to discriminate by user or content. The courts ruled that broadband companies do not have to honor net neutrality, although the FCC has a lot of legislation regarding “fairness” within media outlets. The holding was based off a technicality because the Internet is not currently mentioned in the FCC’s regulation. This means that, theoretically, leading broadband providers such as Comcast could charge consumers extra for certain programs such as Netflix or else slow the connection down to a minuscule speed.

            Many people are highly invested in this issue because it has the potential to affect almost everyone. The Internet service providers are concerned about the issue because they could make a lot of money off of charging people to use certain channels or programs. Additionally, companies such as Netflix have the potential to make less money because companies such as Comcast could charge them to provide their services to consumers. These extra prices could also be passed down to consumers, giving them a large stake in the matter. The court case makes it very clear that the Internet service providers think that they should not have to honor net neutrality. They believe that they should be able to control the speed and access of any type of contact. The FCC, on the other hand, was on the other side so obviously believes the content should be regulated. While the proper regulations, as ruled by the court, are not currently in the legislation, the FCC could potentially add to it in order to include the Internet.

            Overall, I think if Internet service providers are allowed to ignore the concept of net neutrality, then prices for consumers would be outrageous. I think the FCC should and will add an amendment to include the Internet in their legislation. I think it is unfair to allow broadband providers to regulate their content and that people should be able to access most content without discrimination. 

The Tribune Company

Company: Tribune Company

            The Tribune Company is a multimedia company that operates businesses in publishing, digital, and broadcasting. The Tribune Company owns 23 television stations, 12 newspapers, one radio station, and multiple magazines. In 2010, the company’s revenue was $3.2 billion.


Ownership Map:

  • Radio:
    • WGN-AM Chicago
  • Cable:
    • WGN Americ
  • Television Stations:
    • WPIX-TV (CW) New York
    • KTLA-TV (CW) Los Angeles
    • WGN-TV (CW) Chicago
    • CLTV Chicagoland Television 24-Hour News
    • WPHL-TV (MY) Philadelphia
    • KDAF-TV (CW) Dallas
    • WDCW-TV (CW) Washington DC
    • KIAH-TV (CW) Houston
    • KCPQ-TV (FOX) Seattle
    • KZJO-TV (MY) Seattle
    • WSFL-TV (CW) South Florida
    • KWGN-TV (CW) Denver
    • KDVR-TV (Fox) Denver
    • WJW-TV (Fox) Cleveland
    • KTXL-TV (Fox) Sacramento
    • KSWB-TV (Fox) San Diego
    • KPLR-TV (CW) St. Louis
    • KTVI-TV (Fox) St. Louis
    • KRCW-TV (CW) Portland
    • WXIN-TV (Fox) Indianapolis
    • WTTV-TV (CW) Indianapolis
    • WTIC-TV (Fox) Hartford
    • WDAF-TV (Fox) Kansas City
    • KSTU-TV (Fox) Salt Lake City
    • WITI TV (Fox) Milwaukee
    • WCCT-TV (CW) Waterbury
    • WXMI-TV (Fox) Grand Rapids
    • KFOR-TV (NBC) Oklahoma City
    • KAUT-TV (INDY) Oklahoma City
    • WPMT-TV (Fox) Harrisburg
    • WTKR-TV (CBS) Norfolk
    • WGNT-TV (CW) Norfolk
    • WGHP-TV (Fox) Greensboro
    • WREG-TV (CBS) Memphis
    • WGNO-TV (ABC) New Orleans
    • WNOL-TV (CW) New Orleans
    • WNEP-TV (ABC) Scranton
    • WTVR-TV (CBS) Richmond
    • WHO-TV (NBC) Des Moines
    • WHNT-TV (CBS) Huntsville
    • WQAD-TV (ABC/MY) Davenport
    • KFSM-TV (CBS) Fort Smith
    • KXNW-TV (MY) Fort Smith
  • Newspapers:
  • Classified Advertising:
    • Classified Ventures
    • CareerBuilder
    • For Sale by Owner
    • Homefinder
  • Magazines:
    • Chicago Magazine
  • Entertainment:
    • Metromix
  • Subsidiaries:
    • Tribune Media Services
    • Gracenote
    • Zap 2 It
    • Tribune Direct

            The Tribune Company is a multimedia conglomerate company based in Chicago, Illinois. It is the second largest newspaper publisher in the nation. The company was founded in 1847 and only owned the Chicago Daily Tribune. The company continued in the print media industry and began buying other print media outlets. By the mid 1920s, the Tribune Company began expanding horizontally by moving into broadcast media. The company eventually began accumulating online holdings as well. The Tribune Company’s reputable reputation was essential for its expansion and allowed for a synergetic operation.

            The Tribune Company owns several notable newspapers and radio stations. It is surprising and somewhat concerning to think that one company has control over such large media outlets. For example, it is worrisome to think that the Tribune Company can control the content of such popular papers that reaches millions and millions of people. Theoretically, if the Tribune Company had newsworthy information they wanted to suppress or promote, they could successfully do that on a national scale. Additionally, besides these large, well-known media outlets, the Tribune Company owns several lesser-known ones, further expanding its influence. Overall, the Tribune Company has access to an immense, frightening amount of power.