It's the year 2020. I take my waterproof 10G iPhone into the shower with me, as I do every day ever since they made all personal digital assistants waterproof. Like everyone else, I don't want to be anywhere without it. You never know when some form of information -- a poke from my social networks, the latest in news and gossip, an urge to watch my favorite show -- will strike. PDA's became indispensable ever since the death of newspapers about five years ago. It all happened so fast -- Mr. Murdoch of Fox News bought the New York Times, assuring everyone he would not mess around with it. Sure enough, he fired the editorial staff and then it seemed like the whole industry fell apart. Whatever audience was left for reading papers the old-fashioned way began to dwindle, slowly at first. Then a few major papers around the world pulled the plug because they ran out of money.
Just around the same time, the super high-speed Internet was introduced (Murdoch had a piece of that too, I'm told), and just like that, everyone started getting all of their news and what-have-you off the web, on their PDA's, even on what's left of TV. The newspaper died and nobody came to the memorial to remember it. Now, there's no one of authority to cover the news -- the media simply picks up stories the government hands out or what independent reporters can figure out on their own. But there's really no way to tell who or what is the truth, and people stopped caring. They get their happy news, the latest and greatest in our pop culture, and the occasional report of something disturbing, like war -- with as few details as possible -- and people seem very content. Sound like fantasy or science fiction? Actually, the future is here and it's closer than you think.
The media has lost its focus in its mission of informing and educating citizens about what is going on in the world. The Daily News, one of the state's premier newspapers, covers more of Kim Kardashian's love life than what is going on in Albany or City Hall. Newspapers have a great legacy of informing and educating people about what is going on around the world, from political issues to social and cultural ones. However, with the exception of the New York Times and the Washington Post and a handful of others, newspapers avoid deep reporting when it comes to political coverage or the news in general. Most newspapers no longer have reporters in foreign bureaus that were around for decades -- in places like China, Jerusalem, and Berlin. They simply acquire stories from freelance writers or independent news organizations. This may not seem very important.
A story is a story -- is the author that important? When it comes to information that we trust as fact, it does. When the writer is unknown to the publisher, who knows what his bias is? Did he or she do the work thoroughly? Did the reporter really get all the sources to confirm the facts that he or she claims? These issues can make all the difference between a story being told well and honestly and one that is questionable sensationalism.
More and more, it's the latter that seems to matter to many people. Most of us get our news from talk shows, run by corporations or executives with political bias. Local news stations tend to focus on human-interest stories. Not that there's anything wrong with human-interest stories, but how important are liquor store robberies, neighborhood fires and Britney Spears' love life? The future is here and it's closer than you think.
The misdirection of the media's coverage has and will continue to have a profound effect on America's youth and the future of our society. If this generation loses their curiosity and inquisitiveness about important political, social, and cultural issues that impact so many peoples' lives around the world every day, we will fall out of touch with society and lose the ability to be informed citizens who can make a difference in the world.
As British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said, "Journalism is a guardian that never sleeps and protects freedom of the people." From the great reporting of the Watergate Scandal that exposed the corruption of Nixon administration to the coverage of how the Bush administration misled Americans over weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or the recent exposure of deplorable conditions in Veterans' hospitals, journalists work relentlessly to provide us with a true picture of what is really going on. Simply put, we need to support good journalism -- because the future is here and it's closer than you think.