Another milestone is reached as channels of distribution change:
2008 will be seen as a landmark year in global communications in the textbooks of 2100 – it was the year that the internet finally surpassed what was once considered an unassailable bastion of main media, newspapers, as the leading source of national and international news in America. The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press is an independent opinion research group that studies attitudes toward the press, politics and public policy issues. This year, for the first time in a Pew survey, more people said they relied mostly on the internet for news than those that cited newspapers (35%). Television retained top spot with 70% but it’s now clear that it’s when, rather than if, the internet will become the key news communications medium.
This is not as radical as headlined, given that newspaper and television websites are important sources for online information. Yet the march online will intensify as the credit crunch accelerates change. Curiously, this could result in less news, as the institutions of mainstream reporting wither away.
Watch for the state to support and protect the coterie of reporters, newspapers and channels on the grounds that politicians are far too important not to be heard. After all, this is already done in the UK with the licence fee, public sector advertisements for the Guardian and various subsidies. As the market retreats, subsidies will become more overt, expensive and extensive.