to find that the audience prefers misinfotainment over news. They demand entertainment over learning. Illusion over reality.
I am old enough to remember a day when the news was actually just that... News.... No opinion mixed in. Just the facts. When opinion was offered, usually after the real news, it was labeled as such.
Then media consolidation happened, the fairness doctrine was tossed and newsrooms nationwide were expected to turn a profit. It is that, not the audience, that caused the decline of in-depth reporting. It is expensive to actually check all the facts in a story. It takes time, money and more importantly sources willing to put the story out. In trying to compete with the Internet, broadcast TV and newspapers nationwide have a tough time beating the net to "the scoop". Lastly, corporations (read "advertisers") are the real ones dictating what the audience sees. You will never see a story about an advertiser because that would be biting the hand that feeds them.
I argue the last in-depth reporting really only happened when the Vietnam war brought the horrors of war to people's living room and the Watergate scandal opened people's eyes to government corruption. Since then, the government learned the lesson and wiped out all trace of regulation of what is supposed to be the watchdog of government itself.