Monday, September 18, 2006

Media Conglomerates: Complicating the Journalism Business Model

The media market is plagued with conflicts of interest. As media outlets join together, conflicts tend to become enlarged rather than minimized. The intricacies of business ownerships and holdings often make it difficult for news organizations to even hope to deliver relatively un-biased news coverage to the public. Generally, the public thinks that private ownership of media outlets is better, as they offer more local coverage and seem to have a higher stake in local affairs according to Ian Walsh in his blog. In a September 14 blog post by Pastorius entitled, "Wealthy Muslims Urged to Buy Influence in the Media," the opposite interestingly is illustrated: an individual acts in a selfish fashion. In a response to this post, I have provided a comment questioning whether the public has considered that individuals also have hidden agendas, which may be linked to money or the distribution of their personal beliefs.

Regardless of the ownership group, a definitive business model prospers in the news world: ad-supported revenue. In order to maximize the profits collected from advertising, news sources strive to expose their product to the largest audience. To accomplish this, stories with the greatest popularity will be published. Many times, creating space for the most marketable news takes precedent over reporting on issues that arguably should be at the forefront of news coverage. Shailaja Neelakantan posted a blog entry entitled “The Third World Groove” where he essentially complains about the inaccurate portrayals of Indian culture found in the media. He also laments that only the most sensational Indian news story is reported by top U.S. media groups. I respond to his post, asking how the news media can in fact make a profit on international news when its American consumers do not care about the subject enough to watch or read about it? The ad-driven business model will probably remain in the media industry, as it has been successful for centuries. As corporations continue to grow by acquiring more media, it is unlikely that the media’s trend to withstand influences exerted by anything but profit margins will end.


At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Hiren said...

Ultimately, things have to sell. That is what brings the cash in and runs your kitchen. Nobody should blame the media then when they project news that is likely to have larger acceptability rather than news which should have more accesability.


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