I’ve had the privilege to experience newsrooms of various kinds. Through university, I learned the ins and outs of the process of print newspaper and magazine. As an intern, I’ve experienced local broadcast stations that work hourly and weekly. I’ve dabbled in radio, print, television and web.
Not only have I worked with different forms of media communications, I’ve had the pleasure to experience the difference between working in a public media setting and a private media setting. There are differences, indeed.
It’s been a pretty big debate whether or not the media should be funded by the public or work as a private institution all its own. With talks about cutting the funding to some public media and broadcasts this past election… here’s lookin’ at you Big Bird… the debate is ongoing.
Private newsrooms in disarray
Many private newsrooms are shutting down, or at least drastically cutting their staff. They’re just not making the money they used to from advertising or subscriptions. The St. Louis Post Dispatch, which was once a booming newspaper and number one in the city, has been cutting positions left and right for the past several years which ultimately has become the demise of the paper and the reporting itself. In July 2012, over 20 staff were cut in that month alone.
When private media can’t afford it’s reporters or employees anymore, the content becomes lacking, to speak lightly. It’s a disservice to the community when the quality of information is gone.
A survey sponsored by Free Press found that 75.5% people believe public media is of better quality and 57% believe there are stronger conflicts of interest in the private media sector. Other high percentages in favor of public media show that most find it to be better than private. Even the article says the audience selection is a little biased and may reflect only one demographic and not the nation overall, but the idea is still there.
Regardless of if public media is of better quality and values than private media, the big issue would be to find a way for it to be funded. As of right now, if you’re a public media fan… listen to NPR on your drive to work every day or watch your local PBS affiliate with the family in the evenings… send them a donation when they’re in their campaign season. Send something to your legislators, you know those people that are supposed to be the voice of the people, asking them to support public media.
If you’ve ever struggled financially in life, you then know every little bit really does help.