Farai Chideya I agree with what you say overall, Raju, but TV news divisions are not currently in the red. I think things really started to go bad in broadcast when acquiring companies began to expect entertainment-level profits from news.
Raju Narisetti Between YouTube, Now This News, HuffPostLive, and WSJLive, and you name it, technology has enabled a lot more replacements for big-media TV outlets. So I remain sanguine and hopeful, even if television news has to make entertainment-like profits.
Farai Chideya What Sandy news coverage stood out?
Latoya Peterson I scanned my social networks to figure out where people were and what was happening. Hours before I saw news coverage of how bad the flooding was, an acquaintance posted a picture of her abandoned apartment, with her toilet submerged. I watched friends in New York post pics on Instagram. And I waited for people to sign on to see if they were safe. I only read news reports about the aftermath—to get an idea of the broader scope, what happened in the Rockaways, what was going on with the trains. I loved the NYT [tick-tock on bringing the subways back into service]. But what stands out to me the most is that I looked to social networks for breaking news and major outlets for context.
Deanna Zandt I can’t help but bring in how powerless the Internet really was in the wake of Sandy. When I went out canvassing the first weekend after the storm, the number of people that we met who didn’t know there was an Occupy or other community relief center within walking distance of their houses was stunning (due to lack of power in general, let alone connectivity). . . and then I’d come home and find a bunch of my nerdfolk online setting up websites where people could “help” one another. It was incredibly frustrating.
I’d made fun of things like low-power FM for a lot of years, until that weekend. CB radios and more “old” tech could be employed in incredibly powerful ways.
Coverage of class and social mobility
Farai Chideya According to a study published in The Economist, “Parental income is a better predictor of a child’s future in America than in much of Europe, implying that social mobility is less powerful. Different groups of Americans have different levels of opportunity. Those born to the middle class have about an equal chance of moving up or down the income ladder, according to the Economic Mobility Project. But those born to black middle-class families are much more likely than their white counterparts to fall in rank. The children of the rich and poor, meanwhile, are less mobile than the middle class’s. More than 40 percent of those Americans born in the bottom quintile remain stuck there as adults.”
Vivek Wadhwa Sadly, social mobility is an issue in America and most places in the world. But for all of America’s flaws, it is the most open and inclusive society on this planet.
Groups that help each other can rise. It starts with Mom and Dad encouraging and motivating children, and with communities coming together—people who have achieved success helping others behind them.
Farai Chideya There is a collapsing of the American middle class—not across the board, and not unfixable, but hysteresis (long-term unemployment) changes families and communities, [and] has public-health effects, too.
Vivek Wadhwa Wait till you learn what lies ahead—in this decade. We’ve watched the emergence of exponential companies like Facebook and Google. Billions were impacted, but only a few became wealthy. Now multiply this by 1,000 and look beyond social media—in fields such as robotics, artificial intelligence, computing, synthetic biology, 3D printing, medicine, and nanomaterials. We are going to transform entire industries, such as manufacturing. And we have the chance to solve humanity’s grand challenges and eliminate poverty and hunger and create unlimited energy, improve health, and so on. We can figure out how to share this new prosperity, or we can create more Zuckerbergs. It is up to us. I am optimistic we will share.