The latest Pew Research American statistics at first light make grim reading. It appears that over the last decade in all traditional news outlets, that is newspapers, radio, television and cable, total employee numbers dropped by 25%.
But analysis shows the employee numbers in radio, television and cable in fact pretty much stayed the same and the drop was almost entirely attributable to newspapers which lost 47% of their staff in the past ten years. For those of us interested in quality and substance in their news consumption, which television and radio cannot provide, this is alarming.
But we all know how misleading statistics can be. For example, an obvious explanation lies with the number of newspapers which folded over that same decade. Thus it may well be that there’s been no fall, or even (unlikely) an increase in individual newspaper staff over that same decade. I remain optimistic that the reduction in competition will lead to an improvement in quality. I believe there’s clear evidence of that occurring in Britain, even if on reduced circulations.
Underlying all of this is the electronic assault, mainly cell-phone obsession which is leading to an evident mass dumbing down of the younger generation and accompanying that, a total lack of curiosity which the desire for knowledge is based on.
Consider this conversation a few years ago with a 22 year old receptionist, admittedly employed for her beauty, but who nevertheless had a degree, albeit in a bogus subject where they’re little more than an attendance reward.
Perhaps my foolishly thinking she’d noticed my absence, it went like this.
Me: “Do you know where I was last week?”
Me: “I was in Belgium.”
She looked blank so I persisted.
Me: “Have you heard of it?”
Me: “Do you want to know where it is?”
Halfwit: “No.” – and she meant it.
And why was I there? Because the Antwerp City Council had begun the fightback and banned the use of cell-phones in the CBD, solely in the interest of arresting the decline in civility. So I’d popped over to have a look and it was visibly working. People were actually talking to one another face to face.
Some small American cities have apparently followed suit, but mainly it’s over to our educationalists to begin the fight-back.
Matthew Hooton summed the current alarming situation up a couple of years back when he suggested that the current generation may be the first in human history, dumber than their parents.
I’m hoping that even though the nitwits are glued to their devices, that they are at least reading and therein lies the positive. I at the age of 59 and holding, read all my books now on my iphone to the point where I now find a paper book a bit of a clumsy clunker of a thing to handle. Don’t despair, if they read and probably more importantly travel, then hopefully they will know where, what and why Belgium is a place worth knowing about.
>mass dumbing down of the younger generation
yeah because being able to access the extent of human knowledge makes everyone dumber… Okay boomer
Sir Bob was born in 1939 which is at the tail end of “The Silent Generation” (ironically). Surprised you didn’t know this given you supposedly have the collected store of all human knowledge at your fingertips.
And yet they mostly use the devices to consume trash unfortunately. Have you seen a young person using Instagram and the nonsense they share?
I’ve never come across a newspaper that hasn’t folded. 🙂
However I’m surprised that a libertarian would accept something like the ban on personal freedom in Antwerp simply on the premise that it might be “good for you”. That’s a very slippery slope.
I read a lot more than I did 20 years ago, but it tends to be shorter form stuff that gives more little jolts of novelty as I skim read and move on quickly, rather than books requiring longer term focus for that fix of interesting stuff. I think overall it is having a bad impact upon mental processing and concentration for myself, and is probably really screwing up brain development of youngsters as they never develop deeper concentration skills.
I daily analyse the newspaper for the public. People mostly student love to read because govt. exam making question directly from this.