Sign in | Register now Like us on FacebookLike Us | Follow us on TwitterFollow Us

Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

Mon
Hi: 80
Lo: 63
Tue
Hi: 79
Lo: 61
Wed
Hi: 81
Lo: 69
Advertise on OnMilwaukee.com

In Movies & TV Commentary

An appeals court has rejected the FCC's net neutrality.

Bieber eggs story way more important than net neutrality


The fun part about media is the vast array of technology and platforms available today that make it easier than ever to tell more stories to more people.

Cell phone video can record accidents, Twitter has been used to cover citizen uprising against governments, and your email can deliver all of the previous week's NFL stats. Go farther up the chain to mass media and that's when stories start to drop off.

A video of snowfall may be too distant for someone to care, the happy health news for one individual may not be compelling enough for a wider audience to take notice, and few people can name a WNBA team.

Those truly interested in stories not normally covered by mass media now know other sources for the news that they want.

Most of us understand that mass media has to have a little something that affects the most people for an outlet to spend time and resources to cover it. The topic has to be enough to draw in an audience that advertisers are willing to pay for to reach.

That's why we will always see weather covered in local and mass media. It affects the most people. Food, government, violence and community news affect more people to a lesser extent. And those areas are covered somewhere every day.

Unfortunately, the reporting or not reporting of a story is not that simple.

Sometimes a story can be complicated by too many angles to be covered in 30-second sound bites.

Sometimes, a story is just so complicated that reporters, editors and producers are just not smart enough to present it.

And, sometimes, journalists are just too lazy and go after the easy story – like Justin Bieber allegedly throwing eggs – rather than the difficult one.

Coverage of the net neutrality issue fell into one of those spots this week. The only media outlets to cover the latest move by the FCC were only the largest business news outlets – The New York Times, USA Today, L.A. Times and Forbes.

There was no coverage by network news ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox or PBS. CNN Money covered it online, but neither the Fox Business Network nor CNBC touched it. Nothing from MSNBC, Bloomberg or any other national news outlet, either.

The funny thing about net neutrality, is that it affects each and every one of you reading this. It will affect each person playing Candy Crush on a tablet, those watching Netflix and anyone sending an email or text message.

Here's what net neutrality is and where it comes from: With more people consuming greater amounts of larger files online, internet providers are looking for ways to reduce what it costs to carry the content.

For example, you want to watch the latest season of "The Big Bang Theory" online, an internet provider has to pay to deliver it on broadband, and passes on some of the cost to the consumer. In an age when many people pay for internet access as a package, the costs are spread out.

To protect consumers, the FCC originally said that the internet providers must be net neutral, and not charge one website more than it charges others for delivery of its content. In this model, AT&T would charge the subscriber the same as it would the provider, for any content ranging from the NFL with a complete HD broadcast to YouTube with a 10-second clip of a cat.

On Tuesday, an appeals court reversed this decision, saying it couldn't stop Verizon or other providers from charging certain sites more, nor slow down a site that could be faster because it isn't paying as much.

As the future unfolds, this decision could have a ripple effect on each person who accesses the internet. You know, just something that can hurt hundreds of millions of people for billions of dollars.

Shame on mass media for being either too apathetic or too stupid to do the work.

Bravo on covering that egging incident, though.

Talkbacks


Post a comment / write a review.

Facebook Comments

Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.