The nearly two-century-old marriage between consumer advertising and journalism is on the rocks.
Prof. Wasserman, the Knight professor of journalism ethics at Washington and Lee University, recounts that two hundred years from the penny press to the difficulties that “new media” have with a business model that presumes people will pay for news â€” and therefore advertisers will pay to park themselves in front of those eyeballs. But, says Prof. Wasserman:
That era is now ending, not because the public no longer needs news or because people mistrust news any more than they always have â€” but because new technologies are churning out better ways to reach customers who are shopping for cars, jobs or homes.
For two centuries, advertising has supported journalism. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press â€” but does not guarantee profitability. That news organizations must achieve without government support. Continue reading →
Turner Classic Movies is currently in the midst of its annual “31 Days of Oscar” programming which means that almost every film they’re showing these days offers something interesting. Sunday, February 17 was John Wayne Day. I finished watching The Sands of Iwo Jima, the film for which Wayne received one of his two Oscar nominations, when a question occurred. (In these post-The War days the film seems particularly contrived and quaint, but at the time of its release in 1949 it was a huge hit. It was one of a string of films Wayne made that cast him as the archetypal American War Hero.)
Wayne is the troubled but heroic Marine sergeant John Stryker (one must note the debt that name surely has to the brilliant Nathaniel West); John Agar is the young Marine who must learn the code (ah, the length of Hemingway’s shadow). He must overcome his intellectual mis-education and accept the power and glory of being in The Corps – having the ability to travel to exotic places, meet strange and interesting people, and kill them. Wayne got his Oscar nomination in part because his character, Stryker, does something rare and notable for a character in a John Wayne film – he dies. In fact, Sands of Iwo Jima was one of the films that vaulted Wayne to the top of the biggest box office star list. (It’s a place he spends a lot of time both before and after death.) Continue reading →
In order for a disparate group of individuals to band together into a workable community, there have to be rules, both implicit and explicit. There are laws that people agree to follow to preserve the good of the whole, and there are social constructs developed that the members adhere to. “Don’t screw your friends.” “Play fair.” “You get what you pay for.” Basic principles that everyone (at least overtly) respects, thus maintaining the even keel of the group.
But we’ve seen over the last thirty years a slow, deliberate erosion of those sort of rules, replaced with the glorification of the individual self as paramount. Nothing else matters but you and what you get for yourself. As long as you profit and make out okay, fuck everyone else. This has led to deliberately hostile, antagonistic moves between the buyer and seller in almost every kind of financial transaction imaginable, and many other social obligations besides. The name of the game is to screw the other guy, before he screws you. Continue reading →