respected newspapers

Entertainment In the digital age, the creation and distribution of news have undergone major transformations. Hard-copy, paper, and online versions of newspapers, newsletters, and magazines have changed in content and style. The post-recession economic environment forced the closure of some respected newspapers, while others, especially those that accommodated the interests of online audiences, have survived. Although people’s personal preferences dictate whether their news is delivered digitally, in print, or on television, the more substantive issue is that some consider the news to be “dumbed down,” reflecting a decline in its quality. On the other hand, other audiences prefer news as “infotainment,” i.e., news gathered, compiled, and formatted to entertain rather than to provide an in-depth understanding of events and personalities.

7.1 Mediation of Entertainment What appears in the media as news is largely chosen out of economic considerations because news organizations are dependent on advertising dollars to keep their presses running and programs on air. Public television stations are immune to advertising pressures but still must find innovative ways to fund themselves. Aside from funding issues, news reports are published or aired because U.S. journalists think audiences connect with and deserve access to the information. In writing and presenting the news, they have norms of neutrality, fairness, balance, impartiality, and objectivity to keep personal biases out of the story, although it is impossible to fully do so. Within these constraints, journalists also aim for readability, and increasingly in many venues, entertainment value.

7.2 Storytelling Mass media companies have made storytelling a marketable commodity. Always looking for a competitive edge, companies shift in how they “spin” human interest stories and promote fiction and non-fiction literary genres. Some books or programs that catch the public’s fancy become hot and spawn sequels and imitators. A genre’s popularity may wane, and it may be displaced by another one, but other genres and their authors are enduring.

7.3 Music The impact of today’s diverse music genres is impossible to measure, as great musicians can cross seamlessly from one genre to another. For instance, Winton Marsalis is a great jazz musician but is equally at ease playing classical music. Both YoYo Ma and Itzhak Perlman, Grammy-winning cellist and violinist, respectively, have moved back and forth from classical scores to jazz/improvisational and ethnic- based music. Such crossovers can encourage cultural and racial diversity and tolerance, similar to what happened in the 1950s when R&B and rock ‘n’ roll helped move forward the civil rights movement.

7.4 Sports as Media Entertainment Mass media have taken sports beyond the stadium, exponentially expanding the audience. The huge fan base created by the mass media is an attractive target for advertisers who, given increased competition for air-time in high-profile sporting events, pay millions for ads. Male consumers, who have always been a hard-to-reach demographic, are more accessible and likely to be receptive to ads when, by the millions they come together for sports—whether in bars, in front of televisions at home, on their computers, or on their phones. Sports and media are symbiotic-they shape each other; they are financially interdependent.

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