When did news become for profit? The answer varies from one media outlet to another, but the basic principle remains the same. Profits are measured in clicks, and if a headline is compelling enough, viewers will click on the story, which results in sensationalized content. The business model was successful for CNN, which launched Fox News in 1996, and MSNBC in 1999, making them the “Big 3” of news sources.
ABC, one of the largest broadcast networks, was one of the first to launch an ambitious prime-time news program, called ABC All Star News. The program combined filmed news reports with man-on-the-street interviews. In an attempt to attract viewers, ABC All Star News struggled, being pulled from the air after less than three months. But it was the first prime-time news program to combine a television camera in a helicopter.
As the news industry has struggled to adapt to changing market conditions, the traditional news industry has been forced to cut costs. Layoffs in newsrooms were widespread in 2005 and 2006, and newspaper circulations shrank. They also lost interest in subscribing to newspapers. This changed the structure of the news industry, with many newspapers closing down. The ad-supported news media industry had to adapt. It became difficult to fund quality, reliable news reporting.
Quality journalism is facing a severe crisis, as many people refuse to pay for subscriptions. People believe they can find anything for free online, and that’s why news outlets have implemented a paywall and subscriptions. They still offer quality reporting and in-depth analysis, but they have been unable to compete with the competition. That is the biggest problem facing journalism. And yet, the crisis is not so severe that the quality of reporting has been compromised.