The problem isn’t that newspapers, broadcasters and internet news companies don’t adhere to a set of civic principles. And it probably won’t be changed by readers’ monetized voting. The main issue has nothing to do with power being in people’s hands.
The main problem is that many media platforms, whatever the technology, are not viewed as absolutely indispensable. That’s the crucial element, and it’s much harder to do when you’re at the bottom* of the electronic rabbit hole. The wise Caterpillar can talk, write and blog all he wants — but he can’t be heard while his would-be audience is in the chasm.
A local story that digs into over-zealous parking tickets, and keeps working through the fall-guys and delays and press conferences, is the kind of thing that proves a newspaper’s worth, for instance. Media not only have to publish important stories, they have to make the case for why those stories are important and how they are being indispensable to people’s lives.
*As you know, there is no bottom.