The Media Industry's Whirlwind Transformation in the 2000's: Good-News, Bad-News

Please join me in bidding farewell to "The Aughts" -- the first decade of the Twenty First Century. When it came to all things media, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times.

It was a decade of disruption and decay, of death (newspapers) and birth (new forms of journalism.)

It was a decade that, as Ken Auletta notes in his excellent new book Googled: The End of the World as We Know It, began with the launch of Apple's iTunes - and within seven years iPod owners had downloaded five billion songs. It was a decade that also began with the creation of Wikipedia, and within those same seven years -- and after ten million entries in 253 languages -- the way we gather information was changed forever.

It was also the YouTube decade - one that ended with the site receiving an astonishing two-thirds of all Web video traffic, some ninety million "unique visitors" per month - who now post twenty hours of video every minute of every day.

It was the decade of Gawker Media and "animated news reenactments."

As well as the decade of the precipitous decline of newspaper advertising and circulation revenues, and of endless rounds of cutbacks, layoffs and buyouts.

It was, more than anything, a decade of extreme velocity and instant access; of "user-generated content" creation and distribution; of Craigslist and Facebook and Twitter and of "realtime search."

It was the decade of the death of the homepage and the news web site.

A decade of 'demand' media and torture media and media embedded -- with the Pentagon and with the corporations that ruined the economy of the entire world.

It was a decade that saw the rise - and fall -- of DVDs, of the rise-and fall - and rise again -- of RSS.

A decade of declining trust and dissatisfaction with the media and rampant charges of bias and inaccuracy.

A decade of citizen journalism --and members-only journalism, of salons, sponsors and pay-to-play journalism, and of "post- journalism," leading us inexorably toward a world where all information is spun, and where all "news" is unapologetically propaganda, but also a decade of 'spare change' for non-profit news, and crowdfunded news, new models of news -- and most of all of conferences about the future of news.

A decade of the rise and fall and rise again of the I-Man, of Rush Limbaugh getting paid 400 million dollars to head the Republican Party and need I, dare I say more? - Glenn Beck

A decade of social media, and web 2.0 and Web 3.0, of Al Jazeera being banned in the USA and in Palestine, but readily available on Israeli cable

A decade of 'snackable' news "that can be shared like pieces of candy or a pack of gum" while running the risk of "losing all substance and nutritive value," and of a "corrupt media" serving the ends of the "late empire."

A decade of global online media events born of a death-and-celebrity-crazed media - such as Michael Jackson's memorial service, following a week where coverage of Jackson's death accounted for an astonishing 60% of all news coverage in the United States…

A decade of right-wing views on Fox News and left wing views on NBC news.

And of crowd sourcing and cloud computing.

But most of all, of course, it was the decade of Google, whose CEO Eric Schmitt termed the Internet a "cesspool of misinformation" - from which his company gleaned profit last year of $4.2 billion and revenues of nearly $22 billion - 97 percent of which came from advertising.

Who was it who once said "Content is King?"

Happy News Year, Everyone!


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