The Problem with The Media

How to Fix the Broken News Media


It seems we’ve got ourselves a broadcast media system that’s resting on a haphazard pile of unreliable data and internet noise! Perhaps this is why public trust in the media as an institution is in, to put it politely, the toilet? It is also probably not a coincidence that cable news ratings are declining. 

It turns out that Americans really do want better quality news. So, at some point, we gotta reset. There’s no single way to achieve this. It’ll look different for different networks and platforms. But there are some fundamentals of responsibility we can all push for: 

No lying

As Soledad so nicely put it, “Don’t put liars on television.” This, of course, should be a principle for print and digital media too. Deciding who to platform and give oxygen to is something the media clearly struggled to navigate the Trump administration, which turned out to be full of lying liars. 

Quality over quantity

Everyone involved in making the news needs to be empowered to present substantive, quality news. It shouldn’t be padded with hours worth of opinion on the same story, and it shouldn’t be designed to entertain people so much that they just can’t click the “off” button on the remote. It might make “good” TV, but we don’t need a bunch of people screaming at each other all day to survive as a society. In the words of Chris, “News should be news. Entertainment should be entertainment.” 

Viewers need to reward what they value

For people outside of broadcast news, the number one way to push for what you’d like to see is to pay for media that you think is good — if you consume it regularly and there’s a way to pay for it, do it.

You can also support the work of a lot of individual reporters who have been pushing for changes like this for many years, and there are groups who are advocating for reforms as well. Here are a few to get you started. 

Columbia Journalism Review

Media Matters