The pace in which the media industry changes seems to hasten each decade. Here are the most transformative events of the past 10 years.
The AOL-Time Warner marriage 2000
In January 2000, the announced merger of media titan Time Warner and AOL seemed a logical, albeit surprising, combination – a merger of old and new media. But the union has been declared a disaster, with industry watchers predicting its dissolution every year since.
Standard Bearer? 2001
The Industry Standard, the one-time title of record of the technology world, ultimately became one of its greatest failures. In 2000, it set a publishing-industry record by selling 7,558 advertising pages. But by 2001, the magazine was at the top of the list of publications losing ad pages and revenues. Its print edition folded in August of that year, and the company filed for bankruptcy.
Gawker debuts 2002
Who knew media watching could be fun? Journalist and Web entrepreneur Nick Denton's blog had a quiet launch in late 2002, but, in the nearly six years hence, it has earned its reputation as a premier chronicler of Manhattan media gossip. It's also helped to make “snark” – a tone described in New York magazine as “everybody sucks” – the Web's unofficial lingua franca.
The Jayson Blair scandal 2003
Jayson Blair's outing as a plagiarizer and fabulist was much more than a newsroom scandal at The New York Times. It helped hasten the public's failing trust in traditional media, says Adam Penenberg, the NYU journalism professor and former Forbes reporter who uncovered Stephen Glass' fabrications at The New Republic. “Right now, we're somewhere between used car salesmen and politicians,” he tells PRWeek.
The biggest problem with CBS News' report on President Bush's Texas Air National Guard service was that conservative Web sites such as Little Green Footballs and Free Republic examined the documents more closely than CBS did.
Jon Stewart appears on Crossfire 2004
The Daily Show host's stop at CNN staple Crossfire in October 2004 gained attention because he famously chastised the panelists for “hurting America.” That appearance not only influenced the demise of
the pioneering political talk show, but it also helped propel Stewart's program to a new level of influence.
The launch of CNN's iReport 2006
The April 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech University marked a high-water moment for CNN's iReport program, which launched in beta in 2006. The network used footage of the tragic incident that a student captured on his cell phone. CNN was a pioneer among “old media” to embrace citizen journalism participation. However, the concept wasn't without flaws, as CNN had to triage damage from an October 2008 iReport that falsely claimed Apple CEO Steve Jobs had suffered a heart attack.
Sen. George Allen's 'macaca' moment 2006
Sen. George Allen (R-VA), who was running for reelection and possibly a 2008 presidential bid, was caught on video calling an Indian-American employee of opponent Jim Webb by this racially loaded term. The video was then uploaded on YouTube, and the rest – like Allen's political career – is history.
Murdoch buys Dow Jones 2007
When Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. bought The Wall Street Journal's parent company from the Bancroft family in December 2007, media watchers speculated over what the scion of tabloid journalism would do to the esteemed “financial newspaper of record.” By late 2008, new managing editor Robert Thomson had instituted more frequent coverage of national politics and international affairs.
The Politico launches 2007
The launch of Politico's print publication and Web site in early 2007 showed the willingness of seasoned journalists, such as Washington Post veterans John Harris and Jim VandeHei, to take the leap from traditional outlets to unproven startups.