Rendall hopes that “media economics would not cause an exodus of journalists going over to the dark side” but believes “it’s inevitable that we’ll see some of that.”

Whatever the future holds, McBride said, “As a society we are going to have to educate ourselves about what’s really news and what is information that’s meant to do something different than news.”

With a burgeoning army of out-of-work journalists to lure with lucrative PR contracts and the simultaneous explosion of viral media, corporations are well positioned to gain from journalism’s loss.

A legion of Gene Randalls “reporting” is certainly an unsettling future.

Brad Jacobson is a Brooklyn-based freelance journalist and contributing investigative reporter to the online news site The Raw Story. He is also the editor of MediaBloodhound.com.