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MTV News becomes latest outlet to permanently shut down

The beloved, old-school division MTV News has shut down for good. It follows Vice, Vox, Buzzfeed, CNN, and others in laying off staff and shrinking workforces, leaving a gap in legitimate news coverage that caters to younger audiences.

MTV News has officially closed down.

Once a hub for older millennials and young Gen Xers, it was a cultural staple for information and journalism in the 1990s. Featuring musicians, young reporters, and even presidential candidates, the platform was an excellent place to connect pop culture with current events and inform young people on day-to-day politics.

As the internet became a mainstay for information and news, MTV’s relevance and cultural importance steadily dwindled. By 2015, it was focusing mostly on long-form video content and digital publishing, but would diminish in staff size and output.

Its eventual shutdown is sad to see, but hardly surprising.

In fact, this is one of many closures within publishing this year. Other platforms like Vice, Vox, Buzzfeed, CNN, and more have had to shut up shop entirely or, at the very least, announce sweeping layoffs. It also comes as a writers strike causes havoc in the US, with many shows on pause indefinitely.

While older folks will no doubt lament the death of MTV News, it is perhaps the other, more modern journalistic platforms we should be worried about.

Despite winning accolades and gaining industry prestige, Buzzfeed and Vice were still not able to make their journalism divisions profitable or sustainable long-term. These closures suggest that online content simply does not cater for quality journalism or carefully curated stories in the way that, say, television and magazines once did.

Our now-always connected world demands immediate gratification and instantaneous access to information. Studies have shown that Gen Z are far less loyal to any one brand, news outlet, or product than previous generations, given that they’ve grown up in a world where everything is readily available.

This lack of allegiance to any singular entity gives consumers greater agency over what type of news they receive, but also lends itself to a greater likelihood of misinformation and sensationalist headlines. If every platform is competing for a flippant audience’s attention, they’ll adopt strategies to drive clicks and engagement by any means necessary.

This could be through SEO, clickbait, specially optimised and designed UI, and much more.

Old-school platforms that prioritise long-form journalism cannot thrive in this fast-paced attention economy, and are even less likely to convert engagement to profitability than platforms from decades gone.

MTV News has been in jeopardy of closure for a long while, and it’s slow death is a signifier that times have changed.

We should be concerned for the future of journalistic integrity, particularly when catering news to younger people. Without any sort of standards or checks, it’s likely that a large chunk of Gen Z will be learning about current events through Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, where misinformation and biases lie.

Do we really want to live in a world where Andrew Tate and Joe Rogan are primary sources of life advice and daily affairs?

Media outlets ultimately need to rethink and revolutionise the way they approach younger viewers and readers, or else risk alienating them entirely. MTV News was never going to survive, but the loss of quality journalism directed at young people is the real tragedy we could potentially face in the coming years.