There still is plenty of real news in text-based media such as the press, public radio, and the internet.
Depends on how you define real news, though, I guess. Looking only at Koppel's criticisms of the sensationalism, trivia and lack of interest in foreign news that charazterizes TV news, yes, the Internet provides plenty of alternatives.
Looking at Koppel's lament for a lost heyday where authoritative news anchors were gatekeepers to the news, and passed on vetted and studiously objective news in the name of the public interest, things get a little more tricky I think. Two critical questions arise immediately: was there really such a glory day, and if there was, was it necessarily a good thing?
On the first count, Koppel's nostalgia is a little too transparently self-serving when he selectively recalls a narrative where all was driven solely by a passion for the public good in journalism's heyday, and then steadily went to **** in the decades since. He simplifies things. But still, there is a real contrast. I think it's fairly uncontroversial to say that yesteryear's network news was less permeated [sp?] by partisan politics and opinionatory fervor than news at Fox or MSNBC is now.
Whether that was a good thing can be up for some discussion too - when Koppel laudates yesteryear's "relatively unbiased accounts of information that their respective news organizations believed the public needed to know," you can't help but bristle at the sheer condescending authoritarianism implied. What do you mean they got to decide what "the public needed to know"? Let me look at all the news as it comes in myself, thank you very much. How much news about sensitive government issues were you withholding because the public was deemed not to need to know? But while the extent of Koppel's longing for some benign rule by the best and brightest is grating, every time you bump into a story like this one
, you can't help thinking that maybe the olden days' gatekeepers weren't so bad after all, at least in comparison, if today's cacaphonic alternative is such a messed up diet of deception and disinformation.
OK, where was I going with this? News on the Internet as alternative to the objective news from previous eras that's gone missing on TV. There is plenty of earnest and sincere reporting on difficult political and international issues available on the web, true. Lindsey Lohan doesn't need to come up in your news if you choose the right online sources to follow. But a lot of that valuable content comes in the way of analysis fueled by clear political points of view - the kind of reporting celebrated by that openDemocracy guy I linked above. Nothing wrong with that, but is there much in the way of studiously objective, factual news reporting online, other than that offered by newspapers' websites? If not, what happens to that kind of content when the newspapers keep going down, one by one? How many of those sites will still exist, let alone employ the same kind of body of national and international reporters that newspapers still use now?
I think only a very select few newspapers will survive the next decade or two at most - the New York Times, probably, and a few newspapers that manage to get new funding as pro bono projects from do-gooders and foundations (maybe the NYT will itself be one of those). But many of the sites we can still go to now for that real news won't exist anymore, certainly not as we know it, once most of the newspapers like the WaPo, the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe etc are felled by the new media economy.
That leaves PBS and NPR in America, I guess ... but a) they don't have anything like the market share public broadcasters in Europe have, I believe; b) even if they become the beneficiaries of lots of news consumers heading their way in search for relatively unbiased news once the press goes down (NPR is already one of the fastest growing media), they seem to be sensitive to even just the potential of political pressure
in a way the self-funded, independent press isn't (or isn't as much, one would hope, anyway).