The Sharks and Fish of The Media Ocean

Friday, February 5, 2010

Big ideas come from little places. It's been said for years under all types of circumstances, and local media stations across the nation are one of the perfect examples of this. But if big media is overtaking the local ones, what happens when these little places, no longer exist?

The media has been controlled by the media giants for years, but too often, these media giants cause local stations to go out of business.

Our media is much like an ocean. This media ocean consists of a few sharks, which are like the big media companies, and many fish, which are like the local stations. As the sharks eat up more and more fish, the once healthy and balanced ocean is now an unwholesome, noxious one.

Ted Turner is the founder of CNN, one of the media sharks. But he is also the first to say that the biggest ideas come from local stations. Without these local stations, healthy capital markets turn into deteriorating ones.

Smaller stations are so important because without them there is a loss of localism and democratic debate. In local stations, the mission and programming is different. When large media sharks dominate, it undercuts the democracy. The big companies don't compete the same and are not antagonistic. It is the little companies who know how to compete, which results in the biggest and best ideas.

"No one should underestimate the danger," Turner said. "Big media companies wan to eliminate all ownership limits."

With the elimination of these ownership limits, the media power will be in the hands of only a few corporations and individuals.

"This is a fight about freedom," Turner said. "The freedom of independent entrepreneurs to start and run a media business, and the freedom of citizens to get news, information, and entertainment from a wide variety of sources, at least some of which are truly independent and not run by people facing the pressure of quarterly earnings reports."

The media sharks dominating the local organizations leads to many questions. What will programming be like when it is produced for nothing but a profit? What will news be like when there are no independent news organizations to go after the important stories that big corporations avoid? Perhaps the most important question is a simple one, as free people, do we want to find out?


Katelyn Chamberlin February 9, 2010 at 9:15 AM  

This is a very good viewpoint. It's kind of scary to think how bigger media are dominating all local and independent media services. Since this is such a big problem, I wonder if the world is just going to accept the loss of local media or if steps are going to be taken to perserve it. Unfortunately, I cannot think of a way that the local media can be saved with the economy as it is. Our country is in such a deficit that saving independent media services isn't really a pressing issue. It looks like our country will just have to deal with the inevitable consequences when we come to them.

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