By: Joe Badalamenti
In the current age of the internet, social media and mass information you would think that confidence in the mainstream media would be at an all time high. However that couldn’t be further from the truth, in fact trust in mainstream media has been on the decline since the 80s as a majority of Americans distrust the mainstream news media according to gallup. Some explanations for this trend may include the political polarization and embrace of yellow journalism by mainstream publications such as CNN and Buzzfeed. However these tactics have been around at least since the early 20th century. While it may seem like an acceptable idea to use the government to enforce better business practices, this idea is flawed and unconstitutional. Besides there’s a better solution that’s already on the way to solving the problem that being alternative media. There are many different individuals and groups that can be considered part of the Alternative media However what makes these groups stand out are a number of traits absent from the mainstream publications.
The first trait unique to these new media groups are their focus on individual branding. Because large media companies have so many employees, there is no connection with the audience on an individual level. As a result many will lose trust seeing them as a faceless corporation. New media groups are mostly run individuals so they have no choice but to rely on themselves. Having a familiar face report the news can greatly improve the trust between the audience and the company. Even local news companies rely on this to an extent. With more trust comes more loyalty and more subscriptions which are more reliable than corporate ads and sponsorships. the next trait that these new media groups have is more freedom. Because the mainstream media companies have a built in audience and directly compete with one another, they’re forced to spend most of their time covering the most public issues such as whatever Trump tweeted that day. New media firms on the other hand don’t need to cover the most pressing issue allowing them to cover less public issues which they feel are important. For example Subverse, a small news network run by independent journalist Tim Pool, covers many different underreported topics such as the ethics of AI and scientific breakthroughs to name a few. Plus even when these networks choose to cover the trending topic of the day, their more likely to report it through an objective lens allowing the audience to formulate their own thoughts and ideas. Independent media companies also tend to be more transparent. One of the biggest problems with Mainstream news is that they claim that they are 100 percent objective. However if you’ve read any of their articles, it’s clear that they have a significant bias. While these newer media companies are to an extent biased, they are at the very least transparent about it. Of course, transparency is good because it shows that the company is credible and not corrupt or paid off by politicians.New media also has the advantage of the internet. While mainstream networks do use the internet, their format remains unchanged from TV and print media. New media has adopted an entirely new format: podcasts. Podcasts are audio recordings which last about an hour in which the host talks about whatever they want. Some Sophisticated podcasts such as Ben Shapiro’s sunday special. Invite guests in order to have meaningful conversations about a topic. These guests can be well known public figures or more likely lesser known individuals with unique ideas such as current democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Some podcasts even allow the audience to ask questions to be answered personally by the host for a subscription. Some advantages to hosting podcasts include the low production costs and easy accessibility by the audience as you can access one anywhere at anytime on your phone.
It’s clear that new media has many advantages compared to the mainstream media. This just leaves the question of why hasn’t independent media replaced the mainstream media. While both mainstream and independent media are about neck and neck in views, the main advantage mainstream media has is their brand recognition. Hopefully this article has convinced you to switch to independent media.