I am not the kind of person that ever really buys a movie. I just find that holding on to movies that you rarely ever watch is just a bit silly. I mean, why should you have things lying around that you rarely ever use. I know several people that do own a great deal of movies. If that is okay with them then that is fine, As for me, it is just not something that I find to be in my best interest.
My friend Kathy is one of those people who owns every movie that she has ever loved. She has a whole closet full of them. I guess you would call her a movie collector. She has a little bit of everything. if I ever want to see a good movie, I know that all I have to do is call up Kathy and see what I can borrow for the night.
last year for her birthday, I bought Kathy a fifty dollar gift card and Blockbuster discount codes to Blockbuster. I did this because I knew that they often times sold very good movies that they had previously rented, at a very reasonable price. Kathy wound up buying eight new movies and still had twenty dollars left. She was thrilled with all of the movies that she had found. Oh well, I guess if that is what makes you happy, then who am I to judge?
During this time of centralization and corporate ownership, the
forces of change were gathering at the edges. Some forces were
technological, such as the microprocessor that led straight to the
personal computer, and a federally funded data-networking
experiment called the ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet.
Some were political and/or judicial, such as Supreme Court decisions
that forced AT&T to let third parties plug their own
phones into Ma Bellâs network, and another that made it legal
for purchasers of home videotape machines to record TV broadcasts
for subsequent viewing.
Personal choice, assisted by the power of personal technology,
was in the wind.
I got my first personal computer in the late 1970s. In the
early 1980s, when I first became a journalist, I bought one of
the earliest portable personal computers, an Osborne, and used
it to write and electronically transmit news stories to publications
such as The New York Times and The Boston Globe, for
which I was freelancing from Vermont. I was enthralled by this
fabulous tool that allowed me, a lone reporter in what were
considered the boondocks, to report the news in a timely and
Meanwhile, talk radio was also becoming a force, though not an
entirely new one by any means. Radio has featured talk programs
throughout its history, and call-in shows date back as far
as 1945. Opinionated hosts, mostly from the political right,
such as Father Coughlin, fulminated about government, taxes,
cultural breakdowns, and a variety of issues they and their listeners
were convinced hadnât received sufficient attention from
the mainstream media. These hosts were as much entertainers as
commentators, and their shows drew listeners in droves.
But modern talk radio had another crucial feature: the participation
of the audience. Peopleâregular peopleâwere invited
to have their say on the radio. Before that, regular people had
no immediate or certain outlet for their own stories and views
short of letters to the editor in newspapers. Now they could be
part of the program, adding the weight of their own beliefs to
Personal technology wasnât just about going online. It was
about the creation of media in new and, crucially, less expensive
ways. For example, musicians were early beneficiaries of
But it was desktop publishing where the
potential for journalism became clearest.
A series of inventions in the mid-1980s brought the medium
into its new era. Suddenly, with an Apple Macintosh and a laser
printer, one could easily and cheaply create and lay out a publication.
Big publishing didnât disappearâit adapted by using the
technology to lower costsâbut the entry level moved down to
small groups and even individuals, a stunning liberation from
There was one drawback of having so much power and
flexibility in the hands of nonprofessionals. In the early days of
desktop publishing, people tended to use too many different fonts on a page, a style that was likened, all too accurately, to
ransom notes. But the typographical mishmash was a small
price to pay for all those new voices.
But in the 20th century, the big business of journalismâthe corporatization of journalismâwas also emerging as a force in society. This inevitable transition had its positive and negative aspects.
I say âinevitableâ for several reasons. First, industries consolidate. This is in the nature of capitalism. Second, successful family enterprises rarely stayed in the hands of their foundersâ families; inheritance taxes forced some sales and breakups, and bickering among siblings and cousins who inherited valuable properties led to others. Third, the rules of American capitalism have been tweaked in recent decades to favor the big over the small.
As noted in the Introduction, however, the creation of Big Media is something of an historical artifact. It stems from a time when A.J. Lieblingâs famous admonition, that freedom of the press was for those people who owned a press, reflected financial reality. The economics of newspaper publishing favored bigness, and local monopolies came about because, in most communities, readers would support only one daily newspaper of any size.
Broadcasting has played a key role in the transition to consolidation. Radio, then television, lured readers and advertisers away from newspapers, 8 contributing to the consolidation of the newspaper industry. But the broadcasters were simultaneously turning into the biggest of Big Media. As they grew, they brought the power of broadcasting to bear on the news, to great