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Ted Koppel on the Changes and Challenges of Modern News Media

The world we live in is constantly changing – we see it in the way our society functions, especially when it comes to news media. And while change can be good, it can also lead to complications.

Ted Koppel is an expert on all things media. A 42-year veteran of ABC News, he was named one of the top 100 American journalists of the past 100 years and has won every significant television award. He’s witnessed the evolution of the media firsthand, and here, he shares his insights on how and why it has changed.

Watch the video below to hear Ted Koppel discuss how media today differs from how it used to be, and why it poses new challenges to us.

Transcription of Ted Koppel on the changing world of media.

40 years ago, you had essentially three broadcast networks, and Americans gathered around the flickering television hearth every evening at 6:30 or 7:00. And they watched ABC or NBC or CBS News. And in those days, the networks really believed that they had a responsibility to give the public what it needed to know. And to a large extent, there was sort of a commonality about the American experience of watching network television in the evening.

What’s changed over the years is that these days, not only the networks, but you have cable television, you have satellite television, and of course you have the internet. And there is so much competition that the goal now is to give the public what it wants, not what it needs. If you think about it, initially that sounds like a good thing. Who could argue with giving the public what it wants?

The problem is that what the public needs – to be well educated and to participate in the political process – isn’t always what it wants to hear. What people want to hear is what’s going on in Hollywood, what’s happening on the weather front, what’s the latest scandal, what’s the impact of the latest terrorist attack. What it needs to know sometimes is a lot more complex.