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5.2. The information business

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Before discussing diverse aspects related to information, information as a business has to be mentioned. In the last few years it seems that it has really become a business. A few years back newspapers were a much more global media and it seemed that they were the best way for advertisers to reach a large audience. This important revenue for newspapers enabled to finance quality information. It was possible to send a journalist investigate for a long period of time in order to furnish a great content. With the Internet and new communications means this has become really difficult. Newspapers are not such a global media anymore and the Internet allows more targeted advertising. This is a problem for the newspapers because now they have to think profitability in their content.

By producing content that sells they can stay competitive with the advertising on the Internet.

Of course this is a huge setback when speaking about information. Information should be about reporting to citizens what concerns them(38). It can be politics, economics, international news, culture and many other domains. When marketing dictates contents information will undoubtedly suffer from it. Information has to remain dictated by non-economical rules. This way it can remain objective, precise and most importantly relevant.
An example to illustrate that:

“According to Carr an article on the depression illnesses will be considered excellent because it will attract well paid advertising from antidepressant manufacturers. But an article that deals with malaria in Africa, even though he interests a lot of readers, will bring less income to the editor because a lot less advertisers will be willing to pay for space in that article. The assessment is the same for numerous articles devoted to international problems or subjects that are a little more complicated: they do not draw the advertising money and additionally they are costly to produce.” Poulet, p. 78

The main reason that economics should not dictate contents is because of the importance in the society to have great quality information. With good information a democratic debate can take place since are able to understand the issues that are at stake. This will be discussed further in the next section.

38 Poulet, p. 69

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