‘Media literacy’ advocates push to create savvier consumers of news and information
A new report from the Center for Digital Democracy, a nonprofit group focused on the public use of digital media, calls for a massive overhaul of public news media in the United States.
The authors argue that the best hope for the future of news is a radical overhaul of the public media system that would make it more like the Internet by giving the public more direct access to high-quality, non-corporate news media.
In an attempt to convince legislators and the public that the public has a right to this direct access, the report makes three major points:
The public has two choices for high-quality news delivery: the traditional outlets of the news media (newspapers, television) or the Internet.
It is important to start with the media outlets, since they are the ones most likely to carry such important information to the public. The public should be able to choose from these two outlets, and they should be free to choose which one they prefer.
While there is a trade-off between the quality and quantity of the information available, the public should be able to choose for themselves between multiple sources of quality information.
The public has become accustomed to an environment in which a single news outlet, often one with a small staff and a large advertising budget, has greater access than it needs to the public.
The report’s first point is a very important one. It makes the point that the public has two choices for public access to news and information.
The first choice is for the public to choose from the traditional media outlets that are part of the public’s news diet every day. Most of these outlets have been around for over a century, since the beginning of modern journalism as a profession. The other kind of news, the Internet, is a recent invention.
The public has generally had only one choice for news and information for decades: either the traditional outlets with whom they are intimately acquainted (newspapers, television) or the Internet with which they were previously unfamiliar (websites, blogs, and search engines).
In a world where news is an important part of your life, the traditional media are a key part of your ‘digital diet’. The public uses these sources for