The Evolution of the Media Ecosystem

In a recent post Johnny Robish referred to “…a media ecosystem that amplified misinformation, entertained unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and discouraged audiences from taking concrete steps to protect themselves and others…”

Study Says Fox News Kept Millions From Taking Coronavirus Seriously

That got me to thinking about the ‘media ecosystem’ of my generation and why there is so much to criticize and complain about re the contemporary media environment….

“Weekly Reader was a weekly educational classroom magazine designed for children. It began in 1928 as My Weekly Reader. Editions covered curriculum themes in the younger grade levels and news-based, current events and curriculum themed-issues in older grade levels.

Many people still fondly remember the papers they read as children and how they looked forward to Friday afternoons when their teachers handed out the latest issue.

One of the best-known events in the magazine’s history was its quadrennial “Weekly Reader Student Presidential Election Poll”.

This survey of students in grades K through 12 began in 1956, when readers chose Dwight Eisenhower over Adlai Stevenson.”
—-Paraphrased from Wikipedia

I was 10 years old in 1956. The media ecosystem we had back then was clearly superior to what 5th graders are exposed to today.

I became part of the ‘media ecosystem’ when I started delivering newspapers the following year.

When I turned the route over to my younger brother, I was delivering the  ‘New Haven Register’ and the ‘New Haven Journal Courier’ every day to more than100 homes.

In addition, I picked up home delivery of the “West Haven Town Crier”, the local weekly, to about 50 houses on my route.

I was on my way to becoming a financially independent media mogul at the age of 11, until the age of 15, when I turned to being a musician for income….

But, I digress…

We were taught how to read and process ‘news’ as a significant element of our grade school curriculum in which our grammar school English department had a hand in teaching how to read and process information acquired through reports in electronic mass media or newspapers.

Today, children grow to adulthood with the most powerful mass communication devices known to humankind at their disposal, and yet the capacity and appetite for meaningful communication has been diminished seemingly by the very devices that should produce a completely different result: