Commentary
9:24 am
Wed April 11, 2012

The Medium is Just a Messenger

Nothing that has a bigger impact on us changes as fast as the media. 

During my life, FM radio was created and drove radio to explosive growth. Television was created and grew rocket-like through cable and wireless technology. Likewise, the Internet and all its inter-connecting hardware and software.

While general-interest magazines died, we became over-run by special interest magazines of every type. We’ve watched the daily newspaper, for which I have great affection, suffer decline in reach, impact and quality.

And with each new medium and each new phase, there are those who say, “this changes things.”

But it doesn’t really. Media are only messengers. Media changes only the method of delivery. And the value of a medium is directly proportionate to the value of the latest message it delivers.

During this perpetual upheaval in media – and its measurable improvement in speed, accessibility, portability and technical quality of both audio and video – at issue is whether the quality of the message has improved at anywhere near that of the messengers.

Education today focuses far more on hardware and software. It focuses far less on creating the message. And we already misunderstand each other at the speed of light.

 

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