Monday, January 23, 2006

Evolution of News Media

First there was the printing press. Then radio and TV. But, man, the internet...

I was eight years old before we got a TV. I don't know what we were doing for news or entertainment before that. I don't remember sitting, Walton-style, around the radio. But early TV was a lot like radio - with pictures. There in northern New York in the fifties, we got two stations. They were physical stations, not just channels. One was affiliated with CBS and one with NBC. We watched Ed Sullivan and Bonanza on Sunday night (while my mother put curlers in my hair!) There was local and national news on weekdays and Carol Burnett on Wednesday night.

It was the eighties when I realized I couldn't really follow the show if I was knitting or sewing. I actually had to watch. TV had graduated from radio with pictures to, well, television. Still, news was limited to Tom Brokaw, David Brinkley, etc. And the stories were pretty much indistinguishable from those in Time Magazine and US News. A friend used to tell me that football was the only thing on TV that was true. While that may be an exaggeration, it was/is almost the only unedited thing on TV.

I have satellite TV now. With a hundred and twenty channels to choose from, my TV time has tapered off to C-SPAN, BBC and the occasional movie. That's largely because my need to be connected is met on the internet. Here's an example of one of the many amazing things happening online. Political Cortex like Daily Kos, has a core group of writers plus members (anyone can join) who have their own diaries. Apparently unlike Kos, Political Cortex members entries can become front page articles. The point is that anyone - anyone at all - can publish a news magazine. And many people do. Some of them are good and all of them contribute to a wide diversity of news never before available.

I continue to be grateful for C-SPAN and NPR for bringing me things I wouldn't have thought of searching for. But I'm stunned by the amount and quality of information I can find on the web.

No comments: