It was in 1933 that Newsweek magazine got its start pitted against Henry Luce's Time --and its virulent anti-New Deal politics. This week Newsweek's owner, The Washington Post Company, put it on the block, its ink turned to red and its fiscal outlook poor.
A thirst for diverse news and opinion not available in the era of concentration of media outlets drove Newsweek to the brink, combined with an ever-increasing need for Big Profits from Big Media, now coming down even as CEO's pay keeps going up. In its place -- a diverse menu of reporting and opinion on the Web, satellite, and public access. We here at GRITtv are part of that new media.
For Wall Street, where a jobless recovery is just fine, a shrinking media is similarly okay. What matters is sky high profits, low taxes and minimal regulation. Widgets or words or, better, the wonders of computerized futures trading, it all comes down to return on investment.
But Big Media with its big budgets did send reporters to far-off spots -- and paid their expenses. There is no substitute for first hand observation in the streets, an original take on just-released government data and investigation backed by real bucks -- and lawyers. That requires resources and a way to support "seeing it first hand" is one of the most critical issues our society faces. New media provides a wider range of voices than the old, but the biggest challenge remaining is how to match those budgets.
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Support us by signing up for our podcast, and follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter.com.