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Mainstream media rapidly becoming irrelevant in world of online, decentralized news


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(NaturalNews) Is it possible there will come a time in the future when legacy newspapers like The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times will lose influence?

Actually, that time has already come.

In the decades since growth of the Internet began to explode, traditional newspapers have steadily lost readership, advertising dollars and, yes, even influence, in a trend that shows no signs of abating anytime soon, if ever. Many major and medium-market newspapers have either closed altogether or have gone to an Internet-only format; one of the first and most notable of those was The Christian-Science Monitor, the Detroit Free Press, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

In fact the world's oldest newspaper, the shipping publication Lloyd's List, which began publishing in 1734, went to a digital-only format following the last publication of its print edition in December. "The overwhelming majority of our customers choose the capabilities of digital over print," editor Richard Meade said in a statement.

Lost revenues, readership and influence

Many have closed altogether, no longer offering a print or online version. Some of them include Denver-based Rocky Mountain News, the Tucson Citizen, the Cincinnati Post and the Kentucky Post.

Most cite financial reasons, as in, a decline in advertising revenue. But ad revenues fell because of a decline in readership and interest.

A recent self-analysis by The New York Times is instructive because it is illustrative of just how hard the institutional media is being affected by the growth of alternative media outlets - and how clueless top executives of said institutional media are about the effects of choosing ideology over service to the public for decades on end.

The 96-page internal report, which was obtained by the media website Buzzfeed, "paints a dark picture of a newsroom struggling more dramatically than is immediately visible to adjust to the digital world, a newsroom that is hampered primarily by its own storied culture."

The report ignores its traditional mainstream competitors and takes a closer look at new digital companies like First Look Media, Vox, Huffington Post, Business Insider and Buzzfeed.

"They are ahead of us in building impressive support systems for digital journalists, and that gap will grow unless we quickly improve our capabilities," the report states. "Meanwhile, our journalism advantage is shrinking as more of these upstarts expand their newsrooms."

"We are not moving with enough urgency," the report says.

'They don't print the truth'

The Times just recently fired its executive editor, the abrasive Jill Abramson, but that doesn't appear to be related to the report's findings.

There were other findings, such as the Times' online edition lacking in key technologies, but ultimately what is happening here is that the paper, along with many of its legacy competitors, is simply losing favor with a growing number of Americans who are fed up with the singular political slant and ideology-driven coverage.

Part of the problem is that no one site can be all things to all people (though HuffPo is one site that tries). The other problem for the Times and similar legacy papers is that the Internet makes choice happen - and increasingly, when readers choose, they are choosing something else.

As noted by Jeff Berwick over at ActivistPost.com:

"The paper's model is obsolete, but even worse than the model has been the paper's lack of interest in the truth. As the US empire has grown more out of control, more dangerous, and more insane, the NYT has functioned as a fourth branch of government, a gatekeeper for a totalitarian world a la 1984 or Brave New World.

But the gig is up. The world knows NYT's complicity in erecting a sick and deranged world, and unless the paper breaks major news stories and outs itself as an undeniable friend of freedom, it will continue to lose revenue."

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