1993 forecast on "the death of media" -- was Crichton correct?

Dateline: Sun 01 Jun 2008

A former Newsie has picked up on an article in Slate on the fate of newspapers.

Here is what this writer/friend says:

"Thought you and your bloggers might be interested in perusing (and even discussing)this Slate article revisiting Michael Crichton's 1993 prediction about the death of the mass media." Here is the link:


And a few choice words from the article, by Jack Shafer and posted this past Thursday:

"[T]he American media produce a product of very poor quality. Its information is not reliable, it has too much chrome and glitz, its doors rattle, it breaks down almost immediately, and it's sold without warranty. It's flashy but it's basically junk."

Here, then is what Shafer had to say in part:

"As we pass his prediction's 15-year anniversary, I've got to declare advantage Crichton. Rot afflicts the newspaper industry, which is shedding staff, circulation, and revenues. It's gotten so bad in newspaperville that some people want Google to buy the Times and run it as a charity! Evening news viewership continues to evaporate, and while the mass media aren't going extinct tomorrow, Crichton's original observations about the media future now ring more true than false. Ask any journalist."

The key sentence is "Rot afflicts the newspaper industry..."

Crichton challenges newspapers to stop being repetitive and cheap, but instead dig for the facts and write the compelling stories: why is gas so high? What happened to Bear Stearns? Why do hedge funds skate and avoid regulation? are some examples of questions he raises.

"'I want a news service that tells me what no one knows but is true nonetheless," he (Crichton) says.'"


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