Media conglomeration is not a real problem today
To the Daily:
Your editorial on media conglomeration (A Goofy idea,
02/19/04) is based on a false premise. The media industry is not
highly concentrated; furthermore, it is less concentrated than it
has ever been in modern times.
During the late ‘90s, the top 10 media companies accounted
for only 41 percent of all media revenues. One measure of economic
concentration used by economists is the Herfindahl-Hirschmann
Index. An HHI score of 10,000 is total monopoly, while a score of
less than 1,000 means there is a competitive market. As recently as
1997 the media industry scored 268 on this scale — compared
to 2,506 for the auto industry and 1,080 for semiconductors.
Also, 60 percent of Americans now have Internet access and the
number is rising every day. This alone provides for a variety of
competing ideas, but it is not needed now and has not been needed
in the past. In radio, the largest company is Clear Channel, which
owns about 1,200 stations. This means Clear Channel has less than
12 percent of all radio stations.
I refer Daily readers to the book “Who Owns the Media?
Competition and Concentration in the Mass Media Industry,” by
Ben Compaine and Douglas Gomery, if they would like to examine the
facts further. Refusing to face the facts about deregulation will
lead us to a misery like that of our parents, who faced truly
concentrated media markets in their youth before deregulation.
People in the real world are opportunistic
To the Daily:
In reading Sravya Chirumamilla’s column (Dog Eat
Dog, 02/18/04), I found myself feeling as sorry for her as she
felt for her fellow students. There was absolutely nothing
unethical in regards to her classmates not wanting to take an
alternate exam. I hope she realizes how sheltered and out of touch
with reality she is. The fact that she studied for the SAT in 6th
grade is more saddening than a student who got an easy
‘‘A’’ and didn’t question his ethics.
What Chirumamilla should instead complain about is the disgusting
laziness of her professor, who recycles entire exams after just one
semester of classes, or possibly write a column on how her parents
robbed her of a normal childhood. As for her assumption that
students won’t even help out their peers on resumés, I
feel she probably needs to start associating herself with more
normal people, and she will find this probably isn’t the
case. Another assumption she makes that I feel is grossly off is
that people come to college to only learn about things that
interest them. I say people more likely come to college because
they are the product of an environment they want to get out of by
moving up in the world or because they are already living the life
of a spoiled suburban kid like myself and would like to keep it
that way. Hopefully Chirumamilla learns the critical life lesson
that when other people make mistakes like the one her professor
made, most people will capitalize on them. The sooner she realizes
this, the less often she will be left in the dust.
M. Ryan Jarnagin