'Failure to Inform': Is There a Looming Media Crisis in Montana?
September 30 - October 1, 2009
UM and the Holiday Inn at the Park
Event DetailsThe Wheeler Fall Conference will focus on the future directions of Montana's media industry. Fair and effective public policy can be crafted only with the help of an informed public. But as rapid and radical changes occur in media ownership, new technology and news gathering and distribution, what does the future hold for our democracy? What is the case in Montana? Is our media industry immune from what is happening on the national level? These questions and others will form the basis for our forum:
- The U.S. media (newspapers, internet and broadcast) has provided checks and balances to counteract abuses of power around the world. As some of our largest (and smallest)news outlets shrink, what are the consequences? How will citizens remain informed? Whom will we trust?
- Montana’s media outlets remain the best vehicle for understanding current events and providing political insight. Will smaller budgets restrict the flow of factual information which form our political and democratic choices?
- Do the forces altering the media landscape, and in particular, daily newspapers, represent a long-term threat to democracy and our civil society? Or, are media outlets poised for growth as the economy rebounds?
- Newspapers have traditionally been the primary unbiased source for participation in both public and private policy formation. What can be done to protect the public’s interest with regard to unbiased, professional reporting?
- If “content is king” and internet content is taken primarily from traditional media sources, and if those sources either diminish or disappear altogether, where will internet media get their news?
- Where will people get their information in the future, how will they pay for it, and what kind of information will be available? Do gender and age play a role?
- What are the emerging alternatives to the print media and what are their resources, operating strategies, strengths and weaknesses? How will newspapers change in response to emerging media sources?
- What role does broadcast media play in Montana? What changes are on the horizon?
And, finally, what is our role and responsibility, as citizens, in shaping the future of the media? We look forward to hearing from you on this issue! Please join us.