Valiverronen and Juntunen’s insight

Valiverronen and Juntunen’s insight that the “blurring” of boundaries between tabloid and serious media outlets
being connected to a “stiffening of competition” in the media landscape is a useful one. That the growing
competition for audiences and advertising revenues has led to “tabloidization” has actually been apparent to
me for a couple of years. I see formerly reputable news outlets like CNN for example turning increasingly
toward tabloid-style reporting and sensationalism. For example, a recent sex scandal involving the Mormon
figure Jerry Fallwell Jr. showcases this tabloidization. This scandal (which is still unfolding) is being covered by
all of the U.S.’s major and mainstream media outlets, including CNN, FOX, ABC, and others. But this scandal
does not involve allegations of misconduct (there are no allegations of assault of harassment), they are
revelations of consensual sexual activity involving Fallwell, his wife, and others, that is simply deemed
sufficiently unsavoury that it is “newsworthy”. But I’m not sure that this phenomenon of tabloidization and the
“softening” of the boundaries between different media is actually creating “greater coherence” as the authors
suggest in the media landscape. I’m not sure that it’s coherence that is generated by this blurring of boundaries
as much as it is degeneration. To conclude that the outcome is greater coherence says nothing about the
quality or focus of news in the infotainment era. While the focus of news outlets across media organizations
may be cohering, what is perhaps more consequential is the shift away from journalisms role as protecting the
public interest towards one that is more clearly oriented towards private interests (shareholders, advertisers,
etc.). This, to me, is the more significant takeaway.

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