A compulsive audience and a complicit news media

Danny Funt, Columbia Journalism Review, Aug 12, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

We can blame social media for society's ills (including those caused by social media) but I wonder whether this isn't the case. After all, society's ills began well before social media - I remember working in the Gauntlet office in the mid-1980s and being just blown away when Television the Drug of the Nation played on campus radio. We're seeing a repeat. "Social strategies for news media are largely beholden to business interests. That some content must be cheapened, sensationalized, and churned out in bulk to amass traffic and woo advertisers may seem justifiable if it finances more meaningful work." The fear expressed in this article is that it might not be possible to escape this downward spiral.

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