News Technology's Digital Divide

While not what we traditionally think of when we think digital divides, the Pew Research Center’s 2012 State of the Media report notes a growing gap between news organizations and technology companies, with news organizations becoming increasingly reliant on them:

At the same time, a more fundamental challenge that we identified in this report last year has intensified — the extent to which technology intermediaries now control the future of news.

Two trends in the last year overlap and reinforce the sense that the gap between the news and technology industries is widening. First, the explosion of new mobile platforms and social media channels represents another layer of technology with which news organizations must keep pace.

Second, in the last year a small number of technology giants began rapidly moving to consolidate their power by becoming makers of “everything” in our digital lives. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and a few others are maneuvering to make the hardware people use, the operating systems that run those devices, the browsers on which people navigate, the e-mail services on which they communicate, the social networks on which they share and the web platforms on which they shop and play. And all of this will provide these companies with detailed personal data about each consumer…

…A year ago, we wrote here: “The news industry, late to adapt and culturally more tied to content creation than engineering, finds itself more a follower than leader shaping its business.” In 2012, that phenomenon has grown.

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