There are routine, weekly reports on the decline of the old media. The situation in the Middle East is highlighting that situation.The Networks are falling further behind. The current hot, hot news in the world today, the Gaza conflict, exemplifies this decline of the old media. The fact is, the networks can't give you the best news coverage on Gaza. Cable TV, for the most part, can't. But you can get it on the net.
Israel is blocking the world's media from entering Gaza. But Al Jazeera TV is there, on the ground, in the midst of it all. You might think that the story they tell would be propaganda, aimed at he Muslim and Arab world. Cancel that idea. Al Jazeera is a first rate, professional operation, with ethical balanced news reporting, probably a lot more balanced than you'll see on Fox News.
If you can't access AL Jazeera on your cable television, you can use a service like www.livestation.com. This free internet website lets you watch and listen to the news, on your computer. It's free and very easy to download and use.
If you're just watching CNN, FOX or MSNBC, you're getting a very limited picture that leaves out a lot of the big picture. For example, all over the world, hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of people in hundreds of major cities are protesting the Israeli invasion. The US media have given these demonstrations minimal coverage.
If you watch Fox or CNN or MSNBC, you'll mostly see US pundits or advocates for Israel or the Palestinians far from the action, in the US.
But Al Jazeera is carrying voices, images and stories in Israel, in Gaza, in the Middle East and the UK.
One of my senior editors turned me on to livestation.com one or two days into the Israeli attack on Gaza. I have no commercial interest in the site except that I'm really enjoying the convenience of being able to watch news online, on my notebook, without the need for a TV.
I realized the value of being able to access Al Jazeera when an Israeli commenter on my site, www.opednews.com, one who was in virulent conflict with pro-palestinian supporters, admitted that even he was watching Al Jazeera, in Israel, because it was providing the best news coverage. As I type this article, Al Jazeera is showing a father holding his dead infant child, outside a hospital. The child is not in a coffin because they ran out of material to build them.
Let me make one thing clear. I am a Jew who supports Israel's right to exist. I support Israel's right to defend itself against thousands of rocket-bombs fired at it. I believe that both sides-- the Israeli leadership and Hamas leaders are at fault and that the Palestinian people are the victims, but they voted in Hamas and Hamas is their official government leadership. One of those leaders, Nizar Rayan, several years ago, sent his son to be a suicide bomber. To make peace happen leaders need to compromise. I can't imagine a man who will send his son to commit suicide killing civilians is capable of compromise.
So I watch the tragedy of fathers holding their dead children. I view images on flickr.com of demonstrations all over the world. Just go to flickr.com and type in GAZA. You'll see thousands of them. I've gone to flickr because as a publisher, I can find images that the photographers allow me, as a non-profit publisher, to publish, at no cost, if I give them their due attribution credit. That's not great news for professional news photographers, but then again, it may be good news for newspapers hard pressed on where to save money to survive. For YOU, flickr is a place you can go to find direct images taken by people who have been part of the news.
The fact is, this website, livestation.com gives you a view of the future of the news-- and that's online. Today there are whispers that Google might rescue the New York Times buying it. I see that as a good thing, though I'm not thrilled with the Giant Google's tentacles reaching to another major medium. But I'd rather have Google buy it than Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, or Monsanto or GE or Halliburton.
Most major newspapers are facing tough times. Ad revenues are dropping as stores and auto dealers and banks are going out of business. Some news companies are making it, but the field of news and journalism is in a major state of flux. At a time when the world is going topsy turvy, at least it's good to know there are new solutions... and you found the ones I described... here.