OPINION | No news is really bad news

When I was studying communications in the 90s - one of a huge swarm of students that saw media courses begin and swell in every university - it didn't take a genius to see that there were not going to be jobs for all of us.

In the relatively small Australian media, even if some graduates went overseas or into other areas, there just weren't big enough wheels to employ that many cogs.

What even the geniuses couldn't have foreseen was just how shrivelled the media in Australia would become.

Newsrooms once bustling with journos are now almost silent. The production and admin staff are non-existent and sales are a shadow of their former selves.

How could we have guessed that the very conduits of information would fall victim to the information age?

Now, I've always thought that if something doesn't sell, or doesn't appear to be needed, then maybe its time has come. Does the downturn of the mainstream media signal its end is nigh? Should we let that happen? Could it even be turned around?

Because the market has moved on.

I often see posts on social media complaining that the media hasn't reported on something. You know the sort of thing: "The media doesn't care/is so biased/doesn't want to tell you..."

Two minutes digging nearly always shows that the media does care, and does want to tell you; it's your Facebook friends who don't care. They're the ones who haven't shared it, who refuse to pay a few bucks a week for a news subscription, and who would rather watch cat videos.

Dammit, cats are pretty funny though.

The media is, of course, not some monolithic organisation intent on bringing civilisation to its knees (despite what despotic presidents claim). It's a hugely diverse industry made up of people with varying levels of competence. Some of us make mistakes; while some have sacrificed enormously to ensure that truth is spoken to power.

But in the end, if the market would just rather be entertained, the news media will die. Will we then get the society we deserve?

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