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And while it has been Moore’s and Metcalfe’s laws driving most of this change, perhaps it is another law, Amara’s, which best describes the results.
If news isn’t credible, it loses its ability to persuade. Other legacy news businesses — CNN, Fox News, CBS’s 60 Minutes to name three — also continue to operate with highly profitable margins.
The precipitous fall of the industry that produces what we have come to call quality journalism — that is, independently reported, verified, branded information published or broadcast by institutions prepared to “stand by their stories” despite pressures from commercial or government interests — is hardly a fresh subject.
Tens of thousands of articles, books, research papers, and documentaries have been devoted to the topic.
There’s a big argument right now about what’s going on in the news business. The recommended survival technique against a rip current in the ocean is to quickly move sideways outside the current, but that’s been easier said than done in the news business, just as it is in the open sea.
We chose the metaphor to represent what happened to the news business: When successful, pre-digital players who had learned to swim out to sea and return safely with confidence and regularity found themselves over time confronting a stronger and stronger force that made it more and more difficult to get back to shore.