Corporate pressures also squeezed hard news before new media tools
like blogs and Twitter ever had a chance. Just ask David Simon,
creator of the HBO television show The Wire. Testifying at
recent Congressional hearing on the future of the news business, Simon
fairly dripped with disdain for the industry’s financial
constriction. “In fact, when newspaper chains began cutting personnel
and content, the industry was one of the most profitable yet
discovered by Wall Street. We know now, because bankruptcy has opened
the books, that the Baltimore Sun was eliminating its afternoon
edition and trimming nearly a hundred reporters and editors in an era
when the paper was achieving 37 percent profits.” This was 1995.
If Curry weren’t so quick to set aside cares about journalism’s bottom
line—yes, people have to want what you’re selling them—she
might be more familiar with how business decisions of all kinds
influence what’s news.
As of Wednesday, there were nearly a million tweets on the platform hashtagged
“#iranelection.” Although it’s impossible to say exactly what portion
of them came from Americans, it’s a safe claim nevertheless that a
significant number of Americans evidently care about the events in
Iran—and would have been practically glued to their television
screens had the cable channels given them something worth watching.